Zaha shines but Palace and Leeds lack inspiration in Selhurst Park stalemate

Crystal Palace dominated the majority of the game but Leeds held firm to earn a valuable point from a goalless draw at Selhurst Park.

The Eagles looked the most likely to take three points as the Elland Road outfit struggled to get anything going. But a point each moved both clubs further away from the bottom three. Palace manager Patrick Vieira made five changes from the side that lost 1-0 loss at Newcastle last Wednesday.

Joel Ward, James McArthur, Eberechi Eze, Jordan Ayew and Jean-Philippe Mateta were all given the nod.

Leeds chief Jesse Marsch made just one alteration from the side that took care of Watford 3-0 on April 9. England midfielder Kalvin Phillips was handed a start after a frustrating season ravaged by injury.

Neither side were safe from the drop prior to the match and both were looking to put distance between themselves and the bottom three. And it was the hosts who enjoyed the first chance in just the fourth minute.

Nathaniel Clyne’s ball over the top set Jean-Philippe Mateta free but his attempt to lob Illan Meslier was cleared. And the Eagles continued to dominate the early exchanges, with Wilfried Zaha heading straight at Meslier on 11 minutes.

And Mateta should have put Palace ahead just four minutes later following an excellent cross by Jordan Ayew. However, the Frenchman somehow managed to put the ball wide under pressure from the keeper.

Leeds seemed flat despite their need for points but Liam Cooper at least forced Vicente Guaita into a save with a header just before the half-hour mark.

The Whites enjoyed a brief period in the ascendancy but as the half drew to a close it was Palace who controlled proceedings.

Palace unhappy with Zaha treatment

Tempers flared as Joachim Andersen was booked despite the Leeds players escaping sanction for multiple fouls on Zaha.

And the referee brandished a yellow card to Daniel James and Joel Ward just five minutes after the interval. The Leeds man’s clumsy challenge led to an altercation, with Ward’s reaction earning him a booking.

Vieira’s men looked the most likely to score but Zaha blasted well over the bar after doing the hard work to escape Phillips and Luke Ayling.

The visitors began to show more attacking intent but still struggled to put any real pressure on the Palace goal.

Michael Olise replaced Ayew on 67 minutes and immediately found Zaha with a decent cross. However the Ivorian shot straight at Meslier.

And Olise was again involved in the build up as Palace claimed a penalty when Conor Gallagher went down under a challenge from Diego Llorente. VAR decided against awarding a spot kick.

The game seemed to be fizzing out as the final ten minutes approached and Ward’s wayward effort summed up the match. But Gallagher’s long-range effort at least got the fans out of their seats despite flying over the crossbar.

Substitute Jeffrey Schlupp injected some life into the game, linking up well with Zaha and forcing Meslier into a smart double save.

It was not a game that will live long in the memory but Leeds will be happy to return north with something to show for their efforts. They defended well and kept the dangerous Zaha at arms length.

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