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Stoke City 1 Crystal Palace 2: Lee clinches victory with memorable strike

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Dec 2015

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Lee Chung-yong came off the bench to earn Crystal Palace a 2-1 Premier League win with a superb strike at Stoke City.

The teams had scored a penalty apiece prior to Lee’s 88th-minute scorcher, which he buried from just outside the penalty area after Stoke failed to clear their lines from a corner.

Stoke edged the first half in terms of possession and chances, with Marco van Ginkel hitting the post from an Erik Pieters cross.

However, Glenn Whelan clumsily brought down Wilfried Zaha with half-time approaching – Connor Wickham blasting home from 12 yards to send the visitors in front with his first goal for the club.

Stoke applied the pressure after the interval as they went in desperate search of an equaliser and were eventually rewarded 14 minutes from time after Damien Delaney was penalised for handball, allowing Bojan Krkic to level.

Lee, though, had the final say, sending Palace level on 29 points with Tottenham and Manchester United, while Stoke remain 11th.

Xherdan Shaqiri returned to the Stoke starting XI after missing last weekend’s goalless draw with West Ham through illness, while Yohan Cabaye failed a late fitness test and was replaced by Joe Ledley in the Palace midfield.

An open first 20 minutes were tempered by both teams’ initial struggles to carve out any clear-cut goalscoring opportunities and it was not until the 25th minute that either goalkeeper was called into action.

Marko Arnautovic teed up Bojan 20 yards out, but the Spaniard’s strike with the outside of the boot was kept out by a diving Wayne Hennessey save.

Ibrahim Afellay could not keep his shot down as Stoke began to enjoy the better of the chances, while Pieters’ cross from the left was diverted onto the post by Van Ginkel.

Palace’s first-half opportunities had been limited to a Yannick Bolasie run into the box that culminated in the attacker failing to beat the first man with his attempt to find a team-mate, but a penalty gave the visitors a chance to break the deadlock.

Whelan’s challenge on Zaha gifted Wickham the opportunity to put Palace in front, the striker firing straight down the middle with Jack Butland already committed to a dive to his right.

Stoke pressed for an equaliser from the first whistle in the second half, with Glen Johnson’s low drive forcing Hennessey into a diving save.

The hosts’ attacking approach left them vulnerable at the back on occasion and James McArthur came agonisingly close to getting on the end of a Bolasie cross from the left.

Bolasie then cleared the danger following a frantic goalmouth scramble, before Palace had half-hearted appeals for another penalty for a Johnson handball turned down by referee Robert Madley.

Stoke continued to play a high-pressing game and Arnautovic saw an effort deflect inches wide with a wrong-footed Hennessey beaten, while Bojan should have done better when he failed to beat the Palace goalkeeper with a tame shot from an unmarked position.

But Stoke’s persistence paid off when Palace skipper Delaney was penalised for handball, with Madley awarding Mark Hughes’ men a penalty for the third time this season.

Bojan buried his strike to seemingly earn Stoke a point from a match they will feel they had enough opportunities to win, but Lee’s flash of brilliance sealed victory for Alan Pardew’s side.

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