Manchester United 1, Crystal Palace 3
Wilfried Zaha scored twice against his old club as Crystal Palace recorded two straight Premier League wins at Old Trafford against Manchester United.Embed from Getty Images
Andros Townsend’s early goal goal put Crystal Palace in front, and only David De Gea’s save in first half injury time stopped the Eagles from going 2-0 up through Jordan Ayew.
Second half VAR drama saw Ayew win a penalty but see his effort saved, before Zaha buried a retake because De Gea was off his line.
And Zaha finished off a deserved Palace win with a solo goal of his own after outmuscling the hapless Victor Lindelof.
It was a testament to Crystal Palace’s tenacity that they achieved all of this with a possession of just 24% and yet had more chances on target – 5 to United’s 4.
They also kept up with United’s shots on goal, 14 to the Reds’ 17 but were clinical where it mattered.
After a late start to their Premier League campaign thanks to last season’s Europa League exploits, United kicked off against Crystal Palace but the Reds were sluggish and looked unready for action Premier League action after a truncated pre-season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer surprisingly selected Timothy Fosu-Mensah at right back with Aaron Wan-Bissaka late back to training after quarantining due to a holiday in Dubai and Diogo Dalot out of favour.
Daniel James was handed a start after Mason Greenwood was similarly late back to training because of his well publicised exploits in Iceland.
Goalkeeper Dean Henderson had to be content with a place on the bench alongside new signing Donny van de Beek after returning to his parent club from a successful loan spell with Sheffield United last season – with David De Gea starting in goal.
And De Gea was stunned in the 7th minute when Jeffrey Schlupp’s left wing cross was converted from 6 yards out by Andros Townsend.
Schlupp beat Victor Lindelof who tried to cover after Fosu-Mensah had stepped up out of defence and De Gea could not stop Townsend’s low shot from going in.
Townsend also shot wide as the Reds reeled from the early set-back, paying dearly for their slow start.
Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes gave Vincent Guaita something to do with low curling shots.
Guaita was bailed out by Joel Ward after Bruno Fernandes almost got on the end of a clearance by Pogba and the Spanish keeper failed to clear the loose ball.
More VAR drama sees Manchester United concede a crucial second goal against Crystal Palace
United were denied a spot kick by VAR, instead being awarded a free kick for a foul on Bruno Fernandes which the Portuguese put into the Palace wall.
Jordan Ayew brought a good save from De Gea with a rising shot in first half injury time after Palace had counter attacked after sloppy United were caught out again.
United needed more zip after a soporific first half and Greenwood duly replaced James at half time but Ayew shot straight at De Gea after McTominay, who had had a decent first half, also lost the ball to Townsend.
Guaita wasn’t challenged by United, with Pogba’s tame effort easy to collect but Palace looked likier to core, a shot blazed over as the Reds remained all at sea against the more dynamic visitors.
Fosu-Mensah’s cross to Greenwood was headed wide from 7 yards but the United youngster sent the chance wide as United began to commit more people forward after an hour.
Ayew thought he had doubled the lead but was offside after Zaha slipped him through.
And United then brought on van de Beek for Pogba with Fernandes, arguably United’s best defender in midfield, dropping deep into the holding role.
Lindelof volleyed the ball over the bar after getting on the end of McTominay’s flick on.
But Ayew’s shot was blocked by Lindelof and referee Martin Atkinson was asked to check on the pitch side screen after a VAR check for handball for that Palace chance.
And Atkinson decided that Lindelof was responsible for conceding a penalty under the new handball rules – a harsh decision.
Ayew’s casual penalty was saved to De Gea’s right by the Spaniard but a retake was ordered by Atkinson after another VAR check showed that he was off his line at the point of contact.
Ex-United man Zaha stepped up and buried the spot kick into the roof of the net to put the Eagles 2-0 up.
But United were quickly back into the game after an error by the visitors gave the Reds a chance.
Van de Beek was first to react after Palace failed to clear Fosu-Mensah’s cross which broke for the Dutchman to get off the mark for United after 80 minutes – just 13 minutes after coming on.
But Zaha marked his return to Old Trafford with a low strike from 16 yards out inside the near post after outmuscling Lindelof with 5 minutes to go to give the Eagles a deserved three points against the hapless Reds who lost their opening day fixture for the first time in six years and only the third time in 29 seasons in the Premier League era.
GOALS – Manchester United 1, Crystal Palace 3
Man Utd 0, Crystal Palace 1: 7. Andros Townsend converted Jeffrey Schlupp’s left wing cross from 6 yards out after United’s defence was caught napping early.
Man Utd 0. Crystal Palace 2: 74. Wilfried Zaha’s penalty was lashed into the roof of the net to beat David de Gea after De Gea was adjudged to be off his line when he saved Jordan Ayew’s original spot kick – forcing a re-take.
Man Utd 1, Crystal Palace 2: 80. Donny van de Beek was first to react after Timothy Fosu-Mensah’s cross wasn’t cleared by Crystal Palace and the Dutchman reacted first to the loose ball from 7 yards out to pass it into the back of the net.
Man Utd 1, Crystal Palace 3: 85. Wilfried Zaha marked his return to Old Trafford with a low strike from 16 yards out inside the near post after outmuscling Lindelof with 5 minutes to go.
MATCH STATS – Manchester United 1, Crystal Palace 3
Man Utd: De Gea, Fosu-Mensah (Ighalo 81), Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Pogba (van de Beek 67), James (Greenwood 46), Fernandes, Rashford, Martial
Man Utd Subs not used: Henderson, Bailly, Fred, Wan-Bissaka
Booked: Fosu-Mensah 58 (foul on Tyrick Mitchell); Maguire 64 (foul on Wilfried Zaha)
Goal: Van de Beek 80
Crystal Palace: Guaita, Ward, Kouyate, Sakho, Mitchell, Townsend, McArthur, McCarthy (Milivojevic 88), Schlupp (Eze 75), Zaha, Jordan Ayew (Batshuayi 81)
Crystal Palace subs not used: Hennessey, Meyer, Kelly, Inniss
Booked: Ward 54 (foul on Mason Greenwood)
Goals: Townsend 7; Zaha 74 pen, 85
Referee: Martin Atkinson