Aston Villa 1-1 Crystal Palace: Schlupp dents Villains' top-half chances with late equalizer
Photo: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Aston Villa were dealt a blow in their ambitions to finish in the top half of the Premier League as the Villians could only manage a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace at Villa Park.

The hosts took the lead with a little over 20 minutes left as Ollie Watkins turned home Lucas Digne's pinpoint cross.

Jeffrey Schlupp was on hand to finish in the 81st minute to salvage a point for the Eagles.

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Following a tribute to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Villa's 1982 European Cup winning side, the hosts made a bright start as Danny Ings shot wide at the near post before blazing a volley over the bar.

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Palace then saw their first sight of goal on 23 minutes as Wilfried Zaha unleashed a fierce drive that Emiliano Martinez was able to save.

Momnets later, Villa thought they had gone in front. Watkins latched on to a ball behind and laid it off for Ings, but he couldn't find the top corner.

Watkins was presented with a glorious opportunity as John McGinn intercepted a pass and cut in, playing in the former Brentford man who teed up Ings for a shot that curled wide.

The visitors came closest to opening the scoring, Nathaniel Clyne's low drive stinging the fingertips of Martinez, who managed to turn it around the post.

After the Eagles, won the ball back high upfield, Gallagher found space on the edge of the area to fire at goal; the ball took a nick off Tyrone Mings, sending Martinez scrambling across goal to make the save.

Watkins opened the scoring for the Villians on 69 minutes as he received an inch-perfect cross from Lucas Digne to finish past Jack Butland at the back post.

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Patrick Vieira then introduced Schlupp and the move paid dividends as he equalized nine minutes from time. A cross by Joachim Andersen went to Marc Guehi and he headed to Schlupp, who tapped home.

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Villa had the better chances in the closing stages as Watkins' header was headed for goal until Andersen intervened. Butland then saved from Digne and McGinn before Watkins dragged a shot wide.

Played an all-around brilliant game. Defensively, he was in all of the right places, especially when it came to containing Gallagher, his passing and deliveries were spot-on and his cross on the goal was from the top drawer. Nearly picked up his first goal in a Villa shirt in second-half stoppage time.

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