Zaha and Gallagher keep up Crystal Palace’s winning ways against Wolves
Patrick Vieira believes Crystal Palace are starting to show their potential as they made it back-to-back wins with a VAR-assisted victory.
Wilfried Zaha broke the deadlock in the 61st minute and Conor Gallagher wrapped up the points late on with a deflected second as the hosts followed up their efforts at Manchester City last Saturday.
After throwing away leads to draw with Brighton and Arsenal this season, Vieira was delighted to see his young side close out the game to move up to ninth in the table.
He said: “We showed that we improve as a team and this is what we wanted to do. From the first game we played against Chelsea it was about how can we improve individually to allow ourselves to be more of a team.
“When we look at how the players work every day in training, we get rewarded with the results. We know the team has potential and the potential is starting to be seen, but we still need to keep that work ethic and momentum going.
“When you look at all the games we played, today we showed maturity as a team and we take one step forward.”
Zaha and Gallagher were again the match-winners as they put talk over their international careers to one side.
Zaha had his future with Ivory Coast questioned on Thursday, while the Chelsea loanee Gallagher missed out on the England squad despite his fine form.
Vieira said: “It was really important to get the result we wanted, especially after the win we had at City.
“It was a really good team performance against a difficult team. It was quite hard for us to create chances and Wilfried and Conor’s goals were important for us.
“At a really important moment of the game as well and I was really pleased with their performance, but, overall, I felt the team played quite well.”
After a disjointed opening 45 minutes lacking in genuine chances Palace upped the ante in the second half, with Zaha and Édouard embarking on dangerous runs, while Benteke tested José Sá with a header from Gallagher’s corner. It felt a matter of time before the deadlock was broken and the home side went ahead in the 61st minute.
James McArthur slipped Zaha through on goal with a perfectly weighted pass and the forward slotted into the corner from a tight angle. The assistant referee, Peter Kirkup, immediately raised his flag to signal for offside, but VAR overruled the decision to give Zaha a fourth goal of the campaign and spark a second round of celebrations.
The home faithful were lauding technology again not long after when Wolves were denied a spot-kick after Joel Ward brought down Rayan Aït-Nouri in the 68th minute. The referee, Graham Scott, awarded a penalty but another VAR check led to a free-being kick given instead, with the incident taking place on the edge of the area.
The Wolves manager Bruno Lage said: “I think VAR is very important for modern football and it can help the referees to be better. Sometimes you need to understand what really happened in the action about Rayan.
“The big fault was inside the box. It was a touch outside but the big fault is inside the box, so they should go by the referee’s opinion.”
Lage introduced Daniel Podence and Adama Traoré in a bid to get back into the game but it failed to have the desired effect, with Palace doubling their lead with 12 minutes remaining.
The lively Gallagher was again first to a loose ball and after being given too much time by the defence his effort was deflected off Conor Coady to leave his keeper wrong‑footed.