09 Dec Benteke penalty miss denies Palace priceless victory over Bournemouth
Christian Benteke’s missed penalty denied Crystal Palace a priceless Premier League victory as Jermain Defoe’s stunning lob earned Bournemouth a 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park.
Benteke wrestled the ball off regular penalty taker Luka Milivojevic – who had already converted a first-half spot-kick – only to see his added-time effort saved by Asmir Begovic.
The Belgium striker’s scoreless run extended to 12 games, charting to back to Palace’s 4-0 win over Hull at Selhurst Park in May.
His penalty miss here cost Roy Hodgson’s side two vital points in their battle to beat the Premier League drop, and left Milivojevic furious at being denied the chance for a second goal.
So Defoe’s brace secured the Cherries a share of the spoils, with the 35-year-old striker passing 200 career league goals in south London.
Milivojevic’s penalty and a Scott Dann strike pushed Palace into a 2-1 lead, only for Defoe to conjure a chip of such quality as to silence the south London crowd.
Despite the late drama, Defoe’s second goal proved a finish of ageless quality and fully merited the impact of securing a point for the visitors.
Palace may have extended their unbeaten league run to five matches, but boss Roy Hodgson’s side boast just one win in that stretch.
The Eagles also lost talismanic defender Mamadou Sakho to what appeared a worrying calf injury in another blow to the relegation battlers.
Defoe drew first blood with a simple finish after Palace’s midfielders sat too deep and left him unmarked at a corner. The England hitman spun clear and slotted home first time from Andrew Surman’s low ball, to quieten the rowdy home faithful.
Bournemouth maintained their pressure, but Defoe could not squeeze home from a tight angle under pressure from James Tomkins.
Palace then lost talismanic captain Sakho to that calf injury, which will doubtless hand boss Hodgson another unwanted headache.
Defoe failed to convert another chance when Julian Speroni beat him to his nudge forward in the box.
And the Cherries paid the price for that profligacy when Zaha drew a penalty, creating just enough contact from Begovic by dragging his leg to force referee Kevin Friend to award the spot-kick.
Milivojevic buried the penalty to put Palace level at 1-1, and just three minutes later the hosts were ahead.
Defender Dann tapped home Yohan Cabaye’s drilled cross following a six-yard box scramble, to send the Palace fans into raptures.
And the home supporters had not even stopped celebrating when Defoe silenced the stadium with a stunning finish to draw the Cherries level at 2-2. The former Sunderland star lobbed Speroni from a tight angle on the inside right, taking the ball first time after it dropped over his shoulder.
Defoe fluffed a fine chance by his high standards to open the second half, striking wide with a first-time effort from Junior Stanislas’ low cross.
Dann should have put Palace back ahead when latching onto Benteke’s header, only to blast high over the bar from just three yards out.
Milivojevic also botched a fine opening late on as Bournemouth edged to the draw.