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Jeffrey Schlupp snatches late leveller for Palace at Aston Villa

Jeffrey Schlupp scores Palace’s equaliser (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Jeffrey Schlupp scores Palace’s equaliser (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Substitute Jeffrey Schlupp netted a late equaliser as Crystal Palace secured a 1-1 draw at fellow Premier League mid-table side Aston Villa.

Schlupp, three minutes after coming on, finished from close range in the 81st minute to cancel out Ollie Watkins’ 69th-minute opener.

Lucas Digne had a strike saved by Jack Butland and Watkins hit a shot wide in stoppage time as a subsequent Villa push to reclaim the lead proved in vain.

The result left Patrick Vieira’s Palace and Steven Gerrard’s Villa still in 11th and 12th place respectively, a point apart.

After Gerrard and his team performed a pre-match guard of honour for players who were part of Villa’s 1982 European Cup triumph, the hosts made a lively start to the contest, with Danny Ings sending two early shots off-target.

Philippe Coutinho, on his first appearance since his loan at Villa from Barcelona was turned into a permanent deal earlier in the week, then tried his luck from distance, firing wide in the 11th minute.

Palace responded with a Conor Gallagher header that was blocked by Ezri Konsa and Eberechi Eze drilling wide before Wilfried Zaha saw a strike pushed away by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

Ings went close just after the half-hour mark with a curling attempt after receiving the ball from Watkins, and Martinez was then called into action again at the other end as he dived to turn behind a shot by Nathaniel Clyne.

Clyne subsequently skewed a further effort into the stand as the interval neared, while Zaha vented his frustration after a tackle by John McGinn, briefly squaring up to the Scot and then protesting to referee Chris Kavanagh.

Villa suffered a setback in the opening moments of the second half with Konsa limping off following a coming together with Jean-Philippe Mateta, Calum Chambers coming on as the replacement.

Chambers made the intervention to clear when Zaha tried to find space to shoot in the Villa box soon after.

Zaha was then to the fore again as his reaction to another McGinn challenge on him drew heckles from Villa fans and the Ivory Coast international opted to cup his ears to the crowd.

Martinez made another save as he dealt with a deflected Gallagher shot, before Villa made the breakthrough when Digne crossed from the left and Watkins, battling with Marc Guehi at the far post, got on the end of it to divert the ball past Butland.

The lead lasted just over 10 minutes, with Palace restoring parity when Gallagher crossed, Guehi headed the ball on and Schlupp tapped in.

The remainder of the game saw Villa apply considerable pressure as they sought a winner, but Watkins saw a header blocked by the head of Joachim Andersen, Butland pushed away a firm Digne hit and Watkins then sent a shot across the face of goal and wide.

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