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Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest play out goalless draw at Selhurst Park

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Oct 2023

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Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest settled for a point apiece after playing out a goalless draw at Selhurst Park.

Morgan Gibbs-White came closest for Forest when he clipped the inside of the far post in the first half, while Jean-Philippe Mateta narrowly missed breaking the deadlock in the second period.

Roy Hodgson’s 400th Premier League game in charge was marred by two more injuries to his severely-depleted side, with Jeffrey Schlupp and Jairo Riedewald forced off on either side of the interval.

Substitute Jesurun Rak-Sakyi was impressive in his fourth appearance for the Eagles and provided a bit of much-needed hope for the hosts – for whom the international break can not come soon enough.

The hosts should have been riding a high after walking away with all three points at Old Trafford last Saturday, but the past seven days instead saw Eberechi Eze, Joel Ward and Cheick Doucoure add to a long list of Eagles injuries, which Hodgson acknowledged had reached a “crisis” point.

Forest quickly worked their way into Palace’s final third but the hosts responded in kind. Edouard launched an effort wide before an alert Will Hughes intercepted Gibbs-White’s weak pass, leading to Palace’s first corner.

Forest earned a corner of their own resulting in the first real chance of the encounter when Harry Toffolo called Sam Johnstone into action, the goalkeeper diving to push away the potential opener.

The visitors should have taken the lead after 20 minutes when Gibbs-White’s side-foot volley from Murillo’s long ball into the box beat Johnstone, but clipped the inside of the keeper’s post but did not cross the line.

Palace barely had time to breathe a sigh of relief. Moments later, Schlupp went down in midfield and was replaced by 21-year-old Rak-Sakyi.

Jordan Ayew then found himself in space near the penalty spot, cringing as he volleyed Joachim Andersen’s delivery well over the crossbar before Palace did little to take advantage of a free-kick, followed by a timely intervention from Riedewald to nullify the threat on the counter.

Rak-Sakyi, who had previously played just nine Premier League minutes for Palace this season, looked eager to prove he deserved more with spirited first half that saw him deliver two good crosses into the area and had a chance to break the deadlock with a volley from inside the six-yard box.

Matt Turner made the save, while Johnstone twice denied Murillo in three minutes of added time to ensure it remained goalless at the break.

Neither side was able to take advantage of early set-pieces to start the second period, which saw little in the way of chances as the game ticked past the hour mark when substitute Gonzalo Montiel saw a shot blocked by Marc Guehi.

Palace came agonisingly close when Tyrick Mitchell found Edouard, who picked out Mateta on the right edge of the area, his effort inching so close the home support had prematurely started to celebrate, but the ball rolled just wide.

It nevertheless sparked something in Hodgson’s side, who continued to pile on the pressure, first through another Rak-Sakyi effort following a fine run from Guehi, then a missed chance for Ayew when he nodded over the crossbar.

Just as momentum had begun to build in their favour, Palace were forced into another substitution. This time it was Riedewald after he was attended to by staff and Chris Richards sent in to replace him.

The deadlock remained a reality, just barely, after Joachim Anderson stuck out a leg to deny Montiel from close range, Johnstone extending to save Nicolas Dominguez’s effort and ensure the points were shared.

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