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Swansea beat Palace in epic nine-goal thriller

Gylfi Sigurdsson

Gylfi Sigurdsson (obscured) equalises with a brilliant free-kick nine minutes before half-time

Substitute Fernando Llorente scored twice in stoppage time as Swansea recorded their first win since the opening day of the season in a remarkable encounter with Crystal Palace.

The Liberty Stadium witnessed an astonishing seven goals scored after the break and four in 11 second-half minutes.

Swansea were 3-1 ahead before Palace produced an extraordinary fightback to take a 4-3 lead.

It seemed as if the visitors would end their five-match losing run in the league, but then up popped substitute Llorente with two late goals as the ground erupted on the full-time whistle.

  • Relive the action from the Liberty Stadium
  • Reaction from Saturday’s other Premier League games

Struggling sides produce an extraordinary spectacle

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Swansea manager Bob Bradley (centre) is mobbed by his backroom staff at the final whistle

Regarding entertainment value, this match gets top marks. But look past the scoreline and it was a game featuring truly atrocious defending.

Palace took the lead in the 19th minute when Wilfried Zaha easily wriggled away from Neil Taylor and Federico Fernandez before slotting a low angled shot past Lukasz Fabianski.

The Swans hit back in the 36th minute through Iceland’s Gylfi Sigurdsson, when he whipped his 20-yard free-kick over the wall and inside keeper Wayne Hennessey’s far post.

It was 1-1 at half time and midway through the second period there was little to suggest of what was about to unfold.

Then the match exploded.

Dutch midfielder Leroy Fer scored twice at the far post in the space of two minutes. His first was following up from Llorente’s blocked header – the Spaniard’s first touch of the match – before he poked in after Sigurdsson’s free-kick was flicked on by Jordi Amat.

A 3-1 lead became 3-2 in the 75th minute when the Swans failed to clear their six-yard area and James Tomkins poked in.

What followed was a goal rush:

  • 3-3, 82 mins: Palace’s Wilfried Zaha curls a delivery into the area which is inadvertently flicked in by Jack Cork.
  • 3-4, 84 mins: Palace striker Christian Benteke’s snapshot comes off the post and goes in.
  • 4-4, 91 mins: Swans forward Llorente pokes in high past Wayne Hennessey from Sigurdsson’s shot, after his initial effort was saved.
  • 5-4, 93 mins: After a scramble in the area, Llorente stabs the loose ball past Hennessey.

Referee Kevin Friend played another four minutes of stoppage time, but Swansea weathered Palace’s final assault for a much-needed three points after a thrilling contest.

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Crystal Palace players look dejected at the end of the match

Llorente laughs last

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Fernando Llorente scored only his second and third goals for Swansea since his move to south Wales in the summer

The Spanish striker was dropped from the squad for last weekend’s match at Everton, and this week his agent was reported in Italian media to have said that “things aren’t going well” under new manager Bob Bradley.

The American boss explained in the build-up to the match against Palace that Llorente had a future at the club but suggested he lacked fitness.

Bradley decided to twist and bring on the former Athletic Bilbao striker, nicknamed El Rey Leon [The Lion King], who made an instant impact with a header that led to Fer’s first.

But it was two goals in stoppage time that will have ensured him of a place among the hearts of Swans and could prove to be a timely fillip for both player and club.

Swansea boss Bradley said: “That’s one we won’t forget. I’ve been on the wrong side of those occasionally. I’m going to give the players all the credit today. They fought until the end.”

What now for Pardew?

Palace boss Alan Pardew is favourite with the bookmakers to be the next Premier League manager to get the chop.

For a man who has been tipped for the England job, he is possibly now waiting for a call from his own board.

This is the first time since November 2013 that Palace have lost six league games in succession. The former Newcastle manager also endured a slump with Palace last season when his side had a spell of losing seven games in nine.

On the current unwanted run, Pardew said: “They all hurt.”

He added: “I thought Swansea did well and we were hanging on and then the game went into a period of madness of goals. Bad goals for them and bad goals for us. In the end, five bad goals for us and four for them.

“I’m very disappointed the way we defended, particularly the last two goals when we got ourselves in front.”

Palace have earned 22 points from 32 matches in 2016 – the fewest of any team in the top four divisions in England.

Wickham worry

Both sets of fans were in unison when they applauded Palace striker Connor Wickham off the pitch after he suffered a “serious injury”.

The former Sunderland striker came off on a stretcher after he dug his foot into the turf awkwardly in an attempt to tackle Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Pardew said: “Those seven minutes he was getting treatment proved costly for us. A really tough day for us.”

Man of the match – Fernando Llorente

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He was only on for 30 minutes – having been dropped from the squad last week – but provided an assist and scored the two crucial goals to give Swansea victory

Sigurdsson on par with Mata and Eriksen

  • This was the 21st Premier League game to see nine or more goals scored.
  • The Eagles scored four goals in a Premier League away game for only the third time ever and the first since April 2015 (4-1 v Sunderland).
  • Swansea netted five goals for only the second time ever in the Premier League (also 5-0 v QPR in August 2012).
  • Pardew’s side have now gone 18 top-flight games without a clean sheet, longer than any other current side.
  • Since his Premier League debut in January 2012, Sigurdsson has bagged six direct free-kicks goals in the top-flight, a joint-high along with Christian Eriksen and Juan Mata.

What’s next?

Once they get their breath back, Swansea are at Tottenham next Saturday and Crystal Palace are at home to Southampton (both 15:00 GMT).

Live Text

Match ends, Swansea City 5, Crystal Palace 4.

Second Half ends, Swansea City 5, Crystal Palace 4.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Neil Taylor.

Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card.

Federico Fernández (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace).

Attempt blocked. Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Christian Benteke with a headed pass.

Goal! Swansea City 5, Crystal Palace 4. Fernando Llorente (Swansea City) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Neil Taylor following a set piece situation.

Jack Cork (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace).

Attempt missed. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Fernando Llorente.

Goal! Swansea City 4, Crystal Palace 4. Fernando Llorente (Swansea City) left footed shot from very close range to the top left corner. Assisted by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Attempt missed. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Attempt saved. Fernando Llorente (Swansea City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jefferson Montero with a cross.

Leroy Fer (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace).

Foul by Jack Cork (Swansea City).

Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Jay Fulton.

Substitution, Swansea City. Jefferson Montero replaces Kyle Naughton.

Jay Fulton (Swansea City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Jay Fulton (Swansea City).

Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal! Swansea City 3, Crystal Palace 4. Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Scott Dann with a headed pass following a corner.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Leroy Fer.

Attempt blocked. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Christian Benteke.

Own Goal by Jack Cork, Swansea City. Swansea City 3, Crystal Palace 3.

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Bakary Sako replaces James McArthur.

Foul by Jack Cork (Swansea City).

Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution, Swansea City. Angel Rangel replaces Modou Barrow.

Attempt missed. Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Jason Puncheon.

Goal! Swansea City 3, Crystal Palace 2. James Tomkins (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by James McArthur following a corner.

Attempt blocked. Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Yohan Cabaye with a cross.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Leroy Fer.

Leroy Fer (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James McArthur (Crystal Palace).

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Ezekiel Fryers replaces Martin Kelly.

Kyle Naughton (Swansea City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Kyle Naughton (Swansea City).

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38036022