Ipswich Town 0 Crystal Palace 1: Zaha makes Town pay the penalty
- Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller
Wilfried Zaha's 60th minute penalty was enough to give Premier League Crystal Palace victory at Portman Road this afternoon in an entertaining pre-season friendly.
Palace's star man was on hand to win and then convert the spot kick to give the south London side a victory they thoroughly deserved. But for Town fans there was much to be positive about.
With six of Town's new signings starting, Ipswich worked hard all over the pitch to combat the class of Palace's Premier League credentials.
And the Blues created chances of their own, none more so when Joe Pigott hit the post in the second half.
It was the first time fans were back at Portman Road since December 2020, many in short sleeves enjoying the balmy weather.
Town included not just six new signings in their starting line-up, but also Kane Vincent-Young and youngster Cameron Humphreys.
Palace boasted a strong starting XI, with the likes of Cheikhou Kouyate, Jeffrey Schlupp, Zaha and Jordan Ayew all included. The Eagles had their new £18m centre back signing from Chelsea, Marc Guehi, on the bench.
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The players came out to a tremendous welcome, Toto Nsiala captaining the side.
Palace kicked off attacking the Sir Bobby Robson Stand end but it was Town who won the first corner on three minutes, Scott Fraser's corner headed clear for another which was also cleared.
Palace should have gone ahead a minute later as, on the break, Zaha held of Nsiala's tackle in the box, but his squared ball to an unmarked Jean-Phillipe Mateta saw the Palace No.14 slice wide from seven yards.
Jordan Ayew's effort was deflected wide as Palace looked dangerous early on, their manager Patrick Vieira barking orders from the sidelines.
Zaha danced into a great position on 14 minutes, but again shot wide as Palace's finishing let them down. Town were working hard and were showing nice touches themselves at times.
Zaha won a foul for the visitors on 22 minutes, but Ayew hit the 25-yard free-kick over and Town were grateful a combination of Vincent-Young and Nsiala who, between them held up Zaha as he went to shoot in the box.
James Tomkins' header was saved by Town keeper Vaclav Hladky and at the other end Wes Burns had the Town fans roaring as his thunderous 25-yard volley from Pigott's lay-off was saved by Vincente Guaita in the Palace goal.
Burns' teasing cross evaded James Norwood in the Palace box and Norwood nicked the ball off Tomkins but had no support and the attack fizzled out. Palace had enjoyed by far the better chances and their Premier League quality shone through at times, but Town had worked hard, had their moments, and deserved to go into the break with the score goalless.
Zaha was immediately into the action at the start of the second half, his half-chance cleared for a corner from which Mateta hit the bar after a bit of head tennis in the box.
Schlupp's header was saved by Hladky as the home goal led a charmed life.
On 51 minutes, Ipswich enjoyed their best moment of the match so far. A storming run out of defence by Vincent-Young saw him fire the ball into Norwood, who chested down for Pigott to fire a 20-yarder onto the post. It was a fine effort.
Ipswich were buoyed by Pigott's effort and they won a corner that Nsiala was inches from connecting with six yards out. But it was soon Palace's turn to hit the post, Schlupp pulling the ball back for Mateta to again hit the woodwork six yards out.
Palace took the lead on 60 minutes.
Zaha, who had been Palace's stand-out player, was fouled by Vincent-Young in the box and the Palace striker duly thumped home the penalty. It was no more than the Eagles deserved.
Ipswich made a couple of changes as Macauley Bonne and Armando Dobra replaced James Norwood and Scott Fraser, while Palace also made a plethora of substitutions.
Matt Penney swung in a nice cross in the 70th minute that Pigott couldn't guide on target.
Janoi Donacien and Jesse Nwabueze were the next Town men to come off the bench as Vincent-Young and Burns departed, and more Palace changes also came. Fraser Alexander and Matt Healey replaced Cameron Humphreys and Rakeem Harper as the substitutions continued apace.
Bailey Clements and Matt Ward were the next to come on for the Blues as the game became understandably disjointed with so many changes.
Clements got a cross in but it was too close to Guaita as the final changes saw Albie Armin and Corrie Ndaba make appearanes.
Rob Street forced a save from Hladky and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi did likewise as the game drew to a close.
Ipswich Town: Hladky, Vincent-Young (Donacien, 71), Penney (Clements 80), Nsiala (Ndaba 86), Woolfenden (Armin 86), Humphreys (Alexander, 76), Burns (Nwabueze, 71), Harper (Healy, 76), Pigott (Ward, 81), Norwood (Bonne 60), Fraser (Dobra 60)
Subs: Holy, Jackson
Crystal Palace: Guaita (Butland, 64), Clyne (Ward, 64), Kouyate (Kelly, 64), Tomkins (Guehi, 64), Mitchell (Hannam, 64), Riedewald (Milivojevic, 64), McArthur (Boateng, 75), Schlupp (Wells-Morrison, 75), Zaha (Banks, 75), Mateta (Street, 75), Ayew (Rak-Sakyi, 75).