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Pulis feels pain as old club Crystal Palace edge to safety


West Bromwich (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Goals by Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend made it a miserable day for former Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis as the Eagles moved out of the Premier League bottom three with a 2-0 win over West Brom.

For the Palace hierarchy the victory will be extra sweet — aside from crucial points in their battle to stay up — as West Brom boss Pulis owes them almost £4 million ($4.9m, 4.6m euros) over his acrimonious departure in 2014.

Victory — their second in as many matches after losing six of their previous seven — lifted Palace three points clear of the relegation places as manager Sam Allardyce’s magic touch seemed to return — he has never been in charge of a relegated club.

Palace had an early chance to break the deadlock but Christian Benteke’s downward header was cleared off the line by Chris Brunt, the near miss reflecting the Belgian international’s woeful luck in front of goal with just one goal in his last 11 Premier League matches.

At the other end, on loan Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho proved his worth with two crucial clearances, preventing Salomon Rondon from putting the hosts ahead and then again to deny Brunt. 

Despite West Brom dominating, the Palace defence held firm and it was the visitors who ended the stalemate, Yoann Cabaye’s wonderful metronomic 40 yard pass finding Zaha in the box and the Ivory Coast star made no mistake slotting it past Ben Foster.

Zaha’s effort sparked Palace into a sustained period of dominance, Jason Puncheon going closest when his shot scraped the post.   

The visitors, though, were not to be denied a second and Townsend duly obliged with a wonderful solo effort, completely bamboozling Northern Irish veteran defender Gareth McAuley before firing home. 

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