Belfast Telegraph

Benitez feeling hard done by after Palace penalty secures valuable draw against Newcastle

Crystal Palace 1-1 Newcastle

By Declan Warrington

Newcastle's Rafael Benitez revealed his frustration at the penalty from which Crystal Palace equalised during his team's 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park.

The visitors desperately defended throughout a second half in which Palace repeatedly threatened and were also unfortunate not to have been awarded a second penalty for a blatant tug on James McArthur's shirt by Ciaran Clark.

Having been the stronger side during the first half Newcastle came under intense pressure and very narrowly avoided defeat.

However, of the penalty Luka Milivojevic scored after Clark's foul on Christian Benteke, the Spaniard said: "You can see a lot of situations similar to this one during games.

"I can't say he wasn't pulling, because he was. But at the same time (Benteke) was pushing my player."

The Magpies boss had watched his team take the lead through Mohamed Diame's first half finish, and he continued: "We were in control, doing well. We had another chance to score the second goal.

"But if you don't score a second and then concede, you're under pressure against a good team. I was happy with the way we defended against very good strikers, but one point. It's fair, more or less.

"We have an extra point: we cannot say it was negative. We have to stay calm and do what we have to do: fight, work as hard as we did, and we'll have chances to win more games."

His opposite number Roy Hodgson was similarly disappointed Palace only drew having created so many goalscoring chances.

The point the hosts earned took them three clear of the bottom three and up to 14th - two places above Newcastle - but had they capitalised on the intense pressure they applied throughout the second half, they would have climbed to the relative safety of 11th.

"The way we camped in their half in the second half, so dangerously, makes me a bit disappointed," the former England boss said. "It's frustrating we didn't actually win.

"I wasn't too happy with the way we played in the first half, for all that we created two or three good chances. We hadn't played as well as we have, so, on that basis, I'd have been happy with a point.

"But creating so many chances in the second and taking the game to Newcastle, we were a bit unlucky not to claim three points.

"That ability that the team has to come out and be a totally different team..."

Palace on Wednesday spent a reported £9m on Norway striker Alexander Sorloth, but even amid their wastefulness Hodgson left him on the bench.

The 70-year-old explained: "I've only seen him in two training sessions, and he's not played since November. I would ideally have not thrown him in until he'd had more time training with us."

CRYSTAL PALACE: Hennessey, Fosu-Mensah, Kelly (Sakho, 46 mins), Tomkins, Van Aanholt, Townsend, Milivojevic, Cabaye, McArthur, Zaha, Benteke. Unused subs: Ward, Sorloth, Lee, Souare, Henry, Riedewald.

Newcastle: Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame (Hayden, 65 mins), Kenedy (Atsu, 57 mins), Perez (Merino, 80 mins), Gayle. Unused subs: Dubravka, Murphy, Manquillo, Lejeune.

Referee: Andre Marriner

Man of the match: Wilfried Zaha

Match rating: 7/10

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