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Zaha gives Palace first victory as Chelsea lose again

Crystal Palace ended the worst-ever start to an English Premier League season and condemned champions Chelsea to their second successive defeat with a 2-1 victory at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Palace had made unwanted history by losing their opening league games without scoring a goal, but they produced a much-improved performance this time around.

It enabled manager Roy Hodgson claimed his first win since replacing Frank de Boer last month.

Chelsea have now lost three of their first eight league games and fallen nine points adrift of leaders Manchester City.

A scrappy Cesar Azpilicueta own-goal handed Palace the lead in the 11th minute, but Chelsea levelled seven minutes later when Tiemoue Bakayoko headed in a Cesc Fabregas corner.

Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, on his return from injury, restored the home side’s lead with a close-range shot on the stroke of halftime, and a lacklustre Chelsea were unable to equalise.

“That was really enjoyable,” Hodgson said. “I have just said to the players that they really deserve to drink in that victory, because we played the champions of England but came off the field today having deserved our victory.”

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte admitted his side had been hampered by the absence of striker Alvaro Morata and midfielder N‘Golo Kante.

The loss of Victor Moses to injury midway through the first half did not help matters also.

“We started very badly and it was a very difficult day,” Conte said. “But we need also to understand the situation and to continue to work, to find solutions in spite of our injuries.”

NAN

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