Crystal Palace vs Brighton result: Anthony Knockaert goal brings flash of quality to earn crucial boost

In a game with such little quality, it was ironic that Anthony Knockaert’s stunning strike after cutting in from the wing gave Brighton their second win against Crystal Palace this season and fired them three points closer to Premier League safety.

Brighton’s third away win of the season looked unlikely when Luka Milivojevic struck from the spot to level the score after Glenn Murray gave the visitors an early lead. 

Murray was not meant to start and only found out about his place in the team shortly before kick-off after Florin Andone was injured during the warm-up, but he soon made his presence felt with his 100th league goal for Brighton and his fourth goal in four matches against the side he scored 47 goals for between 2011-15.

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Chris Hughton’s untouchable status as Brighton manager had reduced its shine in recent weeks after a winless run saw the Seagulls slide to be just five points ahead of Cardiff in 18th, but their second win against Palace this season will allow them to look up the table with around five more points needed to survive.

Brighton’s first double against Palace in 35 is a sour reflection on Roy Hodgson and what he has achieved in south London this season. The entertaining play and reliance that has seen the club put itself beyond a relegation scrap and into the FA Cup quarter-final was absent from the start to finish.


Player ratings from Crystal Palace vs Brighton





1/22 Vicente Guaita 5

2/22 Aaron Wan-Bissaka 7

3/22 James Tomkins 3

4/22 Scott Dann 4

5/22 Patrick van Aanholt 5

6/22 James McArthur 6

7/22 Luka Milivojevic 6

8/22 Jeffrey Schlupp 6

9/22 Andros Townsend 7

10/22 Michy Batshuayi 5

11/22 Wilfried Zaha 6

12/22 Mathew Ryan 6

13/22 Martin Montoya 5

14/22 Lewis Dunk 6

15/22 Shane Duffy 6

16/22 Bernardo 7

17/22 Anthony Knockaert 8

18/22 Yves Bissouma 6

19/22 Dale Stephens 7

20/22 Davy Propper 4

21/22 Alireza Jahanbakhsh 5

22/22 Glenn Murray 8

1/22 Vicente Guaita 5

2/22 Aaron Wan-Bissaka 7

3/22 James Tomkins 3

4/22 Scott Dann 4

5/22 Patrick van Aanholt 5

6/22 James McArthur 6

7/22 Luka Milivojevic 6

8/22 Jeffrey Schlupp 6

9/22 Andros Townsend 7

10/22 Michy Batshuayi 5

11/22 Wilfried Zaha 6

12/22 Mathew Ryan 6

13/22 Martin Montoya 5

14/22 Lewis Dunk 6

15/22 Shane Duffy 6

16/22 Bernardo 7

17/22 Anthony Knockaert 8

18/22 Yves Bissouma 6

19/22 Dale Stephens 7

20/22 Davy Propper 4

21/22 Alireza Jahanbakhsh 5

22/22 Glenn Murray 8

The origins of this fierce rivalry often stump football supporters, but the present-day dislike between the players was evident in the first 30 seconds when Knockaert was lucky to escape with just a yellow card when he lunged on Milivojevic, perhaps with winning the ball his second intention. The tone was set.

The feisty opening exchanges continued in a cagey fashion and there was little quality on show with both sides wary of making a mistake, which fittingly set the scene for the opening goal.

Palace had been doing well to press Brighton in their own half and limiting the defending they had to do, but Lewis Dunk’s 70-yard ball straight down the middle of the pitch quickly undid all of that. Tomkins missed the chance to intercept the lofted pass and Murray fired the bouncing ball past Guaita with his first touch. 

Brighton had what they came for and it was then a matter if they could hold on for the next 70 minutes. Palace flirted with the idea of attacking, but Brighton’s compact shape restricted how much Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend were able to influence proceedings. 

Zaha had an effort from close range brilliantly blocked by Dunk and Tomkins saw a header from a corner palmed away as the home crowd grew quieter and increasingly frustrated.

Palace’s way back into the game was not obvious, but minutes after the break they were handed their lifeline. Townsend left his leg stretched after touching the ball beyond Davy Propper in the penalty area and the Brighton midfielder duly took the bait. What followed was never in question and Milivojevic dispatched the resulting spot-kick with his usual mix of power and confidence and scored his 17th penalty for Palace since joining the club in February 2017.

Brighton had what they came for, a goal, but the hard work that they had put into protecting that slim lead during the first half was undone in under five minutes. 

Hughton’s plan did not deviate too much after as Brighton continued to rely on Murray’s ability to hold the ball up with Knockaert and Alireza Jahanbakhsh supporting him where they could.

In a game with precious little quality on show from either side, you would have been forgiven to think Knockaert’s winning goal was an illusion. After collecting Dale Stephens’ switching pass from deep, Knockaert eased his way beyond Patrick Van Aanholt and fired the ball into the top corner with laser-like precision.

The goal knocked what little wind Palace had in their sails and the resulting 15 minutes were a procession to another home match without a win. Their three wins and four draws at Selhurst Park is a home record that only betters Huddersfield.

In a season with little to get excited about for either side in the league, it is in these kinds of games that supporters that assess the success of a team. Both Palace and Brighton can add gloss to their domestic campaigns in the FA Cup quarter-final next week, but this result means there is an immense pressure on Hodgson’s side to beat Watford.

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