Crystal Palace 2-1 Stoke City: Sakho's late strike seals crucial three points against Potters

An extra-time strike from Mamadou Sakho sealed a crucial three points for The Eagles at home to Stoke City.

Crystal Palace 2-1 Stoke City: Sakho's late strike seals crucial three points against Potters
Above: Mamadou Sakho celebrating his goal in the 2-1 victory over Stoke City | Photo: Getty Images/Craig Mercer - CameraSport
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SCORE: 0-1, MIN. 53, SHAQIRI 1-1, MIN. 56, LOFTUS-CHEEK 2-1, MIN. 90+2, SAKHO

Crystal Palace have picked up a crucial victory in their bid to pull themselves from the foot of the Premier League, as a stoppage time effort from Mamadou Sakho sealed a late 2-1 victory over Stoke City. 

It was even first period with both sides having decent chances inside the first 45 minutes, with Xherdan Shaqiri, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and James McArthur all going close but to no avail. 

Stoke took the lead through Shaqiri's excellent solo effort in the 53rd minute but Loftus-Cheek brought Palace back into it three minutes later, chances for Christian Benteke, Jesé and Ryan Shawcross came and went but Sakho's late effort secured a crucial victory. 

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Getting into gear 

Both sides have been struggling down in the bottom half of the Premier League table, with Roy Hodgson desperate to pull his side off the basement position of the standings.

It was The Potters who first tested the water eight minutes in as Joe Allen played the ball across the area, Shaqiri was on the end of it as he managed to hit it on the volley but it was deflected wide of the mark. 

Wilfried Zaha was allowed to test the Stoke defence for the first time in the 16th minute as he put on the burners, he did well to beat two before pulling it across for Loftus-Cheek as Erik Pieters did well to get across to snuff the danger. 

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Putting eachother under pressure 

Both sides had tested eachother in the early periods and continued to battle for what would be a crucial three points, with decent opportunities towards the end of the period. 

Another chance fell on the lap of Shaqiri in the 24th minute as he collected Darren Fletcher's ball over the top, however the Swiss international got it caught up in his feet which brought unwanted pressure but managed to get his shot away but Wayne Hennessey did well to save. 

The last chance of the half fell to the home side as Loftus-Cheek chipped ball into the area fell onto the head of McArthur, a second bite of the cherry looked to have fell to the Scot after his initial effort was blocked by Kurt Zouma but Lee Grant was on hand to smother it before he could hit it. 

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Providing something a little bit special 

Hughes' side came flying out of the traps for the second period and were rewarded with an excellent opener, Shaqiri picked the ball up around the halfway mark and was allowed to run at the Palace defence as he danced his way through to the edge of the area before curling it into the bottom corner.

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Back in it 

The last thing Stoke needed to do was to invite pressure from the home side, and Hughes will have been ripping his hair out as their lead only last three minutes as Hodgson's side equalised. 

Andros Townsend did well to whip a ball in from the right-hand side which did well to beat the Stoke defence, it made it's way to the back post which found Loftus-Cheek who continued his recent run of good form as he turned home from close-range. 

Trying to edge it 

A single point wouldn't have been the ideal situation for either side as they look to pull themselves up the rankings, and both sides look to try and edge eachother with decent chances towards the end of the contest. 

Benteke looked to be the hero on his return from injury as he recieved the pass on the left-hand side of the area, but the rust on the Belgian was clear to see as his first-time shot was straight at Grant. 

Jesé looked to make an instant impact from the bench and seal the win for his side, his first touch looked deadly as he leathered it from Peter Crouch's knockdown but his effort was well wide of the mark. 

Hughes will have been scratching his head how his side weren't taking all three points with an excellent chance at the death, Shaqiri's cross found Shawcross at the back post and looked easier to score but somehow the defender ended up putting it wide from a yard out. 

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Stepping up at the right time 

The Stoke skipper was made to pay for his lack of effectiveness in front of goal as Palace snatched all the points right at the death, The Potters cleared the ball twice but it still landed at the feet of Yohan Cabaye. 

His efforts six yards out clattered the foot of the post, but it rebounds straight into the feet of Sakho and he makes no mistake in tapping home from two yards much to the delight of Hodgson and the majority of Selhurst Park.