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Christian Benteke fluffs lines as West Ham get back to winning ways at Palace

Published 15/10/2016

Christian Benteke missed a golden opportunity to equalise for Crystal Palace
Christian Benteke missed a golden opportunity to equalise for Crystal Palace

Christian Benteke's dream week ended with a nightmare penalty miss as Crystal Palace crashed 1-0 at home to struggling West Ham.

The Belgium striker began the week by scoring the fastest goal in World Cup qualifying history on his way to a hat-trick against Gibraltar, and three days later celebrated the birth of his daughter.

But when handed the opportunity to cap a remarkable seven days by cancelling out Manuel Lanzini's strike, Benteke scooped his spot-kick horribly off target.

The miss condemned Palace to a first defeat in six matches while West Ham were able to climb out of the relegation zone following only their second win of the season.

The only blot on West Ham's evening was a red card for Aaron Cresswell, who was harshly booked for a dive and then shown a second yellow just 48 seconds later.

While the Hammers have struggled to adapt to life at their new London Stadium they certainly seem to enjoy playing at Selhurst Park, making it three wins from their last three visits thanks to Lanzini's first-half goal.

Slaven Bilic's side, who began the weekend with the worst defensive record in the division, lined up with five at the back with midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate providing the extra man.

But that did not stop Jason Puncheon finding a huge gap to play the ball through to Wilfried Zaha, who flashed his shot across goal and wide.

However, there was an intensity to West Ham's play which has so far been missing at their new ground.

They took the lead in the 19th minute when Dimitri Payet toyed with three Palace defenders before feeding Cresswell, who fizzed in a precise, low cross which Lanzini gobbled up at the near post.

But Palace, who had barely threatened since that early Zaha chance, were gifted a way back into the game moments before half-time when Benteke tumbled over Angelo Ogbonna in the area.

Benteke confidently stepped up to take the spot-kick, but lifted his side-footed effort high and wide of the top corner.

Still there was time for Andros Townsend to find Benteke in the area again before the break, but he knew his luck was out when his header grazed a post and flew wide.

After the interval Cresswell, impressing on his first appearance of the season following a knee injury, was clipped by Yohan Cabaye in the area only for referee Martin Atkinson to book him for simulation.

That decision was compounded less than a minute later when Cresswell tugged back Zaha to earn his marching orders.

But Palace were unable to take advantage with Benteke heading over the crossbar and Hammers keeper Adrian making a fine point-blank save to deny Connor Wickham in stoppage time.

Press Association

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