A goal in either half earned Crystal Palace their first Premier League win in six games in a cagey affair at Burnley.
Wilfried Zaha struck the opener right on half-time with a low drive, despite Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope getting a hand to the ball at his near post.
Jeffrey Schlupp sealed victory nine minutes after coming on as a substitute as he capitalised on Ben Mee’s mistake to fire between Pope’s legs from inside the area.
Chris Wood had Burnley’s best chance but he could only smash his effort over the crossbar from close range.
Palace moves up to 10th in the table, level on points with Burnley, who are eighth.
The Clarets came into the game in fine form, having won their previous two games 3-0, but their attack lacked a cutting edge against the Eagles.
Palace remained resolute in their shape, restricting the hosts to just three shots in total during the first half.
Zaha handed the visitors the lead in first-half injury time, but Pope will be disappointed to have let the ball squirm past him at the near post.
Sean Dyche’s side improved after the break but top scorer Ashley Barnes was replaced by Jay Rodriguez after a quiet hour, and strike partner Wood spurned their best opportunities.
The New Zealand international latched on to Cheikhou Kouyate’s misplaced header back towards Vicente Guaita, but with only the keeper to beat from six yards out, he shot over the crossbar.
Palace doubled their lead against the run of play when Mee made a hash of his unopposed clearance to play the ball over his head, back towards his own goal, and Schlupp made no mistake.
Burnley continued to push forward but Guaita pulled off another brilliant save to deny Wood, who diverted the ball towards goal off his back to highlight his disappointing afternoon.
The hosts have now lost all three home games this season in which they have conceded.
League goals have been a concern for Roy Hodgson’s side this season. Before kick-off, only bottom side Watford, with eight, had scored fewer than Palace’s 11.
But the visitors, who had not won since 5 October, were aided by their hosts’ mistakes and took their chances with aplomb.
Zaha is crucial to Palace’s hopes and the forward appears to have put his quiet start to the season behind him. Having scored his first goal of the campaign against Liverpool a week ago, he struck a second in two games against Burnley.
The Ivorian showed he was up for the battle at Turf Moor when he clashed with Phil Bardsley in the second half – and he also made more key passes (two) and won more fouls (three) than any of his team-mates.
The opener came when he quickly shifted the ball to his left foot to beat Bardsley before firing past Pope in clinical fashion.
Schlupp was introduced off the bench to increase the visitors’ threat on the break, as Burnley continued to search for the equaliser. Hodgson’s decision paid off when the substitute secured all three points as Palace maintained their 100% conversion rate from just two shots on target.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche, speaking to Match of the Day: “I think we got sucked into what Palace do. We could not break it down and then we let in a soft goal just before half-time. I thought we improved in the second half. I think you have to give credit to Palace; they slow the game down.
“We were not a million miles off but it just did not quite gel. We have moved a long way from last season. We try to build an environment where we can move. Disappointed today but not disappointed overall.”
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson, speaking to Match of the Day: “I think the way we got the balance right between having to defend and attacking was really good. The way Burnley throw balls into the area is hard to defend time after time again.
“It’s a very good victory, we are very satisfied with the result and the performance. We are grateful for the three points but now we need to use this feeling going forward.”
On Wilfried Zaha: “Zaha has been extremely good in recent games. He has not allowed players to aggravate him and that is really important. We are also getting a lot out of him defensively. He works very very hard; it’s an important factor in us winning the game.”
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Source – BBC