16 Dec Christian Benteke finds redemption as Eagles soar in Leicester
Christian Benteke put his penalty misery behind him to inspire resurgent Crystal Palace to their first away win of the season as 10-man Leicester were beaten 3-0.
The Belgian striker scored his first goal since May in a victory that came a week after he defied team orders by taking – and missing – a penalty against Bournemouth.
Another apology saw him set up the impressive Wilfred Zaha for a goal, with Bakary Sako adding a late third as Palace moved up to 14th.
Roy Hodgson’s men are now unbeaten in seven games and their cause was aided by sloppy Leicester, who had birthday boy Wilfred Ndidi sent off in the second half.
Vicente Iborra had a goal disallowed for the hosts, who had previously won four straight games, as they missed the chance to move within two points of the top five.
Benteke had been in the spotlight after missing the last-minute spot-kick in the 2-2 draw with Bournemouth and he was keen to make amends but failed to pounce on Jeff Schlupp’s early cross.
Kasper Schmeichel also saved smartly from Ruben Loftus-Cheek during Palace’s bright start.
Buoyed by their late 2-1 comeback win against Watford on Tuesday the Eagles bossed sloppy Leicester and cashed in after 19 minutes.
It was a simple goal but a well-crafted one as Andros Townsend made room to cross for Benteke, who lost Wes Morgan to head in from 12 yards before celebrating with his fingers in his ears.
It was Palace’s first away goal of the season but owed much to Leicester’s slapdash marking while Schmeichel’s positioning was also suspect as he failed to stop Benteke’s central header.
Conceding at least woke the Foxes up and Benteke almost gifted them an immediate equaliser, heading inches wide of his own goal.
The hosts’ penalty appeals then went unanswered when the ball struck Scott Dann and it got worse for Leicester five minutes before the break.
Riyad Mahrez gave the ball away which allowed Benteke to stride forward, hold off the challenge of Ndidi and find Zaha.
The forward sidestepped Ben Chilwell and drilled low past Schmeichel for his fourth goal of the season.
It was a deserved half-time lead and one which Palace looked to build on – but Benteke miscued a header from Townsend’s second-half cross.
Mahrez, who had been poor, then forced Julian Speroni into a fine low stop but Leicester’s plans unravelled further during one madcap minute.
First, Iborra saw his header ruled out for a shove on James Tomkins on the hour before Ndidi saw red just 51 seconds later.
The midfielder had been booked for an earlier foul on Loftus-Cheek and received a second yellow card for a dive in the area.
It ended Leicester’s hopes of salvaging the game and Benteke, who also should have won a penalty after he was fouled by Marc Albrighton, was denied a second by Schmeichel’s point-blank save with 10 minutes left.
But Sako did score a stoppage-time third when he curled into the top corner from 18 yards out.