At Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace was struggling for goals. Today, not. This was just as good as it gets as the big winners against Leeds United were run out.
The Eagles moved up to sixth in the Premier League table with Scott Dann, Eberechi Eze, Jordan Ayew, and an own goal by Helder Costa.
It was the first time in the first half since their 5-3 home win over AFC Bournemouth on May 12, that Palace had scored three goals. At the end of the season, that was the dead rubber in which both defenses took a day off.
It was different here. In the 1994-95 season, Leeds had scored 13 goals going into the match, the most for a promoted team since Nottingham Forest (14). By comparison, in 2020, the Eagles were not major scorers at Selhurst Park, they had never scored more than once in one match. But in the opening 45 minutes, they created some excellent attacking action.
As Dann’s close-range header from Eze’s corner put Palace in front, Ilan Meslier would likely feel he could have done better with the opening goal.
When Bamford strode on to Mateusz Klich’s pass and confidently scooped over Vicente Guaita, Leeds figured they were level. But VAR ruled it offside, penalizing the Leeds number nine for an outstretched arm when he demonstrated where he wanted the ball to play.
The Eagles’ lead was extended by a brilliant free-kick by Eze. On the edge of the box, he had been brought down and whipped a right-footed attempt over the wall and into the net’s top left corner.
After 27 minutes, Bamford got his goal. The clearance from Cheik Kouyate was unconvincing and the striker dispatched the ball past Guaita emphatically.
But the Palace gave itself 42 minutes of breathing space again. Wilfried Zaha played an outstanding ball down the left and Costa deflected Patrick van Aanholt ‘s cross past Meslier.
After the restart, the Eagles were pleased to retain their defensive shape and see if they could tackle Marcelo Bielsa’s side and add to their tally. The reply was that they should.