Wednesday 29 March 2017

Pressure mounts on Pardew after Swans edge thriller

Swansea City 5 Crystal Palace 4

Crystal Palace's Joel Ward battles with Swansea City's Gylfi Sigurdsson. Photo: Peter Cziborra/Reuters
Crystal Palace's Joel Ward battles with Swansea City's Gylfi Sigurdsson. Photo: Peter Cziborra/Reuters

Substitute Fernando Llorente scored twice in injury-time to hand Swansea a sensational victory over Crystal Palace and pile the pressure on under-fire Eagles manager Alan Pardew.

Palace, who had earlier led through Wilfried Zaha's 19th-minute goal, were 3-1 down before James Tomkins (75), a Jack Cork own goal (82) and Christian Benteke (84) turned the game on its head.

Swansea City's Jack Cork (left) and Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea. Photo: Nick Potts/PA
Swansea City's Jack Cork (left) and Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea. Photo: Nick Potts/PA

But Swansea, who had seen Leroy Fer add a second-half double to Gylfi Sigurdsson's superb free-kick, claimed a first Premier League win since the opening day of the season when Llorente twice finished from close range.

It was Palace's sixth straight defeat - and surely the cruellest in that stretch - with Pardew's position set to be the subject of more speculation.

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew at the end of the match. Photo: Peter Cziborra/Reuters
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew at the end of the match. Photo: Peter Cziborra/Reuters

Palace were ahead after 19 minutes when Zaha finished past helpless Lukasz Fabianski.

But the mood changed inside the Liberty Stadium when Sigurdsson scored a terrific free-kick which left Wayne Hennessey rooted to the spot.

It was a lifeline for Swansea and they went ahead when Fer squeezed home a rebound from Llorente's powerful header. Two minutes later Palace struggled to cope with another set-piece and Fer finished again at the far post for his sixth goal of the season.

But Palace gave themselves a lifeline when Tomkins bundled home before Zaha's cross struck Cork and looped over Fabianski in agonising fashion.

And Palace were in front when Benteke found the net off a post in a crowded goalmouth.

But Swansea were not finished yet and Llorente - dropped at Everton last week - diverted home a Sigurdsson shot before prodding in the winner to send the Liberty Stadium into raptures.

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