Crystal Palace 3-1 Queens Park Rangers: Eagles soar after scorching start

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Crystal Palace beat London rivals Queens Park Rangers 3-1 at Selhurst Park on Saturday after a blistering first half display.

The Eagles were 3-0 up at half time as first half goals from Wilfried Zaha, James McArthur and Joel Ward did the damage. Matt Phillips scored a stunning goal for QPR late on, but it was the best moment of yet another poor away display from the R’s as they remain in the bottom three.

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With the victory Palace remain in 12th on 33 points, while QPR are in 18th on 22 points with nine games to go.

After a nervy start in south London, Palace took the game by the scruff of the neck as Scott Dann went close twice through headers. Then in the 21st minute a surging run and a wonderful cross from Yannick Bolasie on the right was slotted home by Zaha at the back post. 1-0 to Palace, but it came at a cost as Zaha and Jason Puncheon both needed treatment after slamming into the post.

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Both Zaha and Puncheon continued to torment QPR’s backline in the first half, as the Eagles were dominant with both Damien Delaney and Glenn Murray close to doubling their lead. The Eagles did go 2-0 up in the 40th minute as Joe Ledley’s ball found Bolasie out on the left and an almost identical cross found McArthur who tapped home from close range. Seconds later it was 3-0, as Zaha found Ward on the edge of the box and his deflected left-footed effort crept into the far corner for his first-ever Palace goal.

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After a shocking first half performance QPR improved, slightly, but Palace still looked more likely to extend their lead rather than the R’s chipping away at it. Both Puncheon and Zaha were injured and had to leave the pitch, with the former pulling up with a suspected hamstring injury.

Palace had several chances as QPR failed to get going, but late on Phillips provided a moment of magic as he drilled home a shot from all of 45-yards with a stunning strike. Sublime. Phillips then went close from long range once again as Speroni pushed another effort wide and Niko Kranjcar also went close but it was all too little, too late for the R’s.

LINEUPS

Crystal Palace: Speroni; Ward, Delaney, Dann, Kelly; McAthur, Ledley, Puncheon (Gayle, 56′), Zaha (Mariappa, 57′), Bolasie; Murray (Sanogo, 80′)

Goals: Zaha (21′), McArthur (40′), Ward (42′)

QPR: Green; Furlong (Hill, 45′), Caulker, Onuoha, Suk-Young; Henry, Sandro (Kranjcar, 84′), Wright-Phillips (Grego-Cox, 85′), Phillips; Taarabt; Austin

Goal: Phillips (84′)