Christian Benteke scored a dramatic injury-time winner as Crystal Palace fought back from two goals down to beat sorry Sunderland 3-2 in the Premier League on Saturday.
Jermain Defoe’s double either side of half-time had seemingly done enough to earn the Black Cats and their under pressure manager David Moyes a first league win of the campaign.
However, Sunderland were left reeling by Palace’s fightback at the Stadium of Light, which started with Joe Ledley – whose earlier mistake led to Defoe’s opener – scoring with a deflected effort.
James McArthur’s header then drew Palace level in the 76th minute to leave the home fans stunned.
But there was worse to come for the Sunderland faithful when Benteke headed home Lee Chong-yong’s free-kick deep into stoppage time for his seventh Premier League goal against the Black Cats.
Palace have now won three straight league games, while defeat for Sunderland leaves them bottom of the table.
After a scrappy opening, Palace carved out the game’s first chance and Jordan Pickford did well to cling onto Benteke’s towering header from Joel Ward’s cross.
Sunderland lost Steven Pienaar to an apparent hamstring injury, while Benteke continued to cause problems and hit a thumping volley over the crossbar.
The home side responded shortly before the half-hour mark and Defoe met Patrick van Aanholt’s delivery with a neat flick that trickled wide.
Benteke then fired low into Pickford’s clutches before Yohan Cabaye’s half-volley faded past the far post, but Palace gifted Sunderland the opener in the 39th minute.
Ledley received Steve Mandanda’s pass and, when swarmed by red and white shirts, attempted to pick out McArthur only to find Defoe, who clinically rolled his finish under the goalkeeper.
Palace almost responded before the break but Damien Delaney failed to sufficiently direct Benteke’s header back towards the goal, while Andros Townsend’s free-kick dipped wide.
The visitors were on the attack again after the restart, countering from a cleared Sunderland free-kick, but Pickford got up to parry Jason Puncheon’s shot after Cabaye had slipped him in.
With an hour played, though, Defoe doubled the hosts’ lead.
The former Tottenham striker latched onto Javier Manquillo’s pass and, although his first shot was block, Duncan Watmore returned the ball into the box and Defoe lashed home with a left-footed drive.
However, the two-goal advantage did not last long. Palace rushed up the other end and McArthur teed up Ledley to shoot hard and low, his strike clipping Van Aanholt’s stray leg and beating Pickford.
With Sunderland eyeing a clincher and their visitors after an equaliser, the game was now flowing from end to end and Defoe fired over in pursuit of a hat-trick.
But the next goal came at the other end. Substitute Ezekiel Fryers made a quick contribution when he whipped a stunning cross into the area that McArthur crashed beyond Pickford with a header.
Townsend looked to have wasted a final chance for Palace to win the game as he curled wide on a late break, but further drama was to follow.
Substitute Lee floated a free-kick from the left and Benteke attacked the ball to bury a header into the bottom corner, clinching the points for Palace and extending Sunderland’s winless Premier League start.
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