Aston Villa secured a dramatic comeback victory as Douglas Luiz’s controversial penalty and Leon Bailey’s strike deep in stoppage time for a 3-1 win against Crystal Palace.
Having levelled with three minutes of normal time remaining, Villa were awarded a penalty in the fourth minute of added time.
The decision survived a rigorous VAR check with referee Darren England, who was sent to the pitchside monitor, and his officials taking almost five minutes to stick with the decision. Luiz then converted from the spot in the eighth minute of stoppage time to put Villa ahead.
Palace assistant manager Paddy McCarthy, standing in for the unwell Roy Hodgson, wasn’t happy with the decision and said the result left a “bitter taste”.
He said: “The result just leaves a really bitter taste in our mouths. If it takes five minutes to make a decision, that tells you everything you need to know. People in the studio have asked him to go and have a look. Whatever he has seen on the monitor has not changed his mind.”
It killed it for us. It’s never been a pen for me. Under the pressure, it’s gone the wrong way.
In the absence of manager Hodgson, Palace thought they were heading for victory thanks to Odsonne Edouard’s strike early in the second half. However, substitute Jhon Duran hammered home an emphatic equaliser to bring the hosts level late in the game.
Nine minutes of stoppage time were added on and in a dramatic end to the game, Unai Emery’s team were handed the chance to seal all three points after referee England pointed to the spot when Ollie Watkins went down under a challenge from Chris Richards.
England controversially stuck with his original decision, and Luiz made no mistake to spark the Villa celebrations before Bailey struck to send Villa above Palace into seventh.
Unwell Hodgson ‘feeling better’ | Palace boss absent from Villa Park
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson missed his team’s defeat at Aston Villa on Saturday because he was unwell, the club said.
The 76-year-old Hodgson did not travel to the game at Villa Park. His assistant Paddy McCarthy, who was aided by Ray Lewington, took charge in his absence.
“Unfortunately, Roy Hodgson was taken unwell earlier today and is not at Villa Park,” Palace said. “Roy sent his best wishes to the team ahead of the match. We send our very best wishes to Roy.”
Hodgson has twice come out of retirement since leaving his role as Palace manager in 2021. He had a brief spell at Watford between January and May last year and was then called up to help Palace avoid relegation from the Premier League last season.
After the game, McCarthy said Hodgson is feeling
better, despite the late heartache at Villa Park.
He said: “He is feeling better, so we are hopeful that he can continue to feel better and be back with us sooner rather than later.
“All the preparations were done with Roy. It was early, sort of between breakfast and the pre match meal that he felt unwell, that is when we found out about it. We just continued as we had prepared. Before the game we had contact and then there was a lot of stuff going on. It was before the game we had contact and we will obviously speak to him after the game.”
The story of the match…
How Villa’s late show stunned Palace…
The patter of the game was set out early with Aston Villa dominating the ball and Palace happy for them to have it as they sat back in a compact shape, trying to hit the hosts on the counter-attack.
The two sides cancelled each other out in the early stages, and it took some sloppy passing at the back from Palace for the first chance to come. Ollie Watkins pounced on the error but, one-on-one with Johnstone, the Villa striker’s shot was well saved by the England goalkeeper.
Villa thought they’d broken the deadlock in the 34th minute when Pau Torres’ ball over the top released Diaby. The forward beat Johnstone with his shot but he did not beat Palace’s offside trap as VAR ruled out the goal.
Aston Villa: Martinez (7), Cash (7), Konsa (6), Pau Torres (6), Digne (7), Luiz (8), Kamara (6), McGinn (7), Diaby (7), Watkins (7), Zaniolo (6).
Subs: Tielemans (7), Bailey (7), Duran (7), Dendoncker (n/a).
Crystal Palace: Johnstone (8), Ward (6), Richards (7), Andersen (7), Mitchell (7), Doucoure (8), Hughes (7), Ayew (6), Eze (8), Schlupp (7), Edouard (7).
Subs: Mateta (7), Ahamada (n/a), Rak-Sakyi (n/a).
Player of the match: Douglas Luiz
The hosts were in the ascendancy. Matty Cash missed his kick after being picked out by Nicolo Zaniolo’s cutback before the full-back, who has been in good goal-scoring form this season, headed over Lucas Digne’s cross.
Palace rarely threatened in the first half but went ahead inside two minutes of the restart for the second half.
Sub Jean-Philippe Mateta spun Torres on the right before sending in an inviting cross for Edouard to slide past Emiliano Martinez, who had slipped in the build-up to the goal, for his fourth of the season.
Palace were threatening to build on their lead and should have gone 2-0 up on the hour-mark, but Ward could only divert Joachim Andersen’s header wide of the post from close range before Martinez denied Eze with the England international through on goal.
It turned out that Palace needed a second. Duran fired straight at Johnstone with his first touch after coming on, while Watkins and Bailey both had shots blocked in quick succession before Watkins curled an effort off the post.
- Unai Emery made one change to the Aston Villa side from the 3-0 defeat at Liverpool before the international break. Defender Diego Carlos dropped out of the side through injury with Nicolo Zaniolo coming in for his first start for the club.
- Crystal Palace made two changes from their 3-2 win at Wolves with defender Marc Guehi and midfielder Jefferson Lerma missing out through injury. Midfielder Will Hughes and defender Chris Richards started for the visitors.
However, the breakthrough eventually came three minutes from time as Duran superbly controlled Lucas Digne’s cross on his chest and then lashed in a fierce left-footed shot past Johnstone.
Five minutes later, the hosts were awarded a penalty when Richards brought down Watkins, with referee England taking almost five minutes in front of the monitor to decide a foul had been committed.
Luiz stroked home from 12 yards and then Bailey sealed the win at the end after converting from close range.
Emery: ‘We played with our hearts and not our minds’
Aston Villa manager Unai Emery:
“[It] was a difficult match like every one is. We played very well, created chances and didn’t concede a lot in our box. But we didn’t score [in the first half].
“We played a lot [of other matches] like today [Saturday] and were winning in the first 20 or so minutes. We said at half-time to keep going and controlling the game like we were doing. They have a very good team and good players and they did that transition and scored the goal. Then it was a difficult moment.
“We were playing more with our hearts than with our minds in the last 20 minutes and sometimes you need that. At the end, we deserved to win. We scored three goals so I’m very happy because after their goal, it was a difficult moment and we really reacted very well.
“We want to play every minute here and to enjoy it. We want to be competitive, to learn and build our team with the players. I am very happy because this three points today is because every player involved – those in the starting XI or on the bench – helped us with good impact.”
‘Result leaves a really bitter taste in our mouths’
Crystal Palace assistant manager Paddy McCarthy:
“I’m disappointed for the players. The gameplan worked for a large spell of the game, but I’m disappointed that we didn’t get anything from the game.
“The team shape and the effort were great. We knew it was going to be a tough side, but the boys who stepped in were great.
“The result just leaves a really bitter taste in our mouths.”
On Villa’s penalty: “If it takes five minutes to make a decision, that tells you everything you need to know.”
Opta stats: Villa’s winning home run continues…
- Aston Villa came from behind to win their ninth consecutive Premier League home game, extending their longest such run in the competition.
- Crystal Palace lost a Premier League away game despite scoring the opening goal in the second half for just the second time in the competition, after losing 2-1 to Middlesbrough in August 2004 under Ian Dowie.
- Odsonne Edouard has scored four of Crystal Palace’s seven goals in the Premier League this season, the Frenchman has netted just one fewer in 2023-24 (four in five games) than across the whole of last season in the competition (five goals in 35 games).
Aston Villa’s next game is a trip to Legia Warsaw on Thursday as they begin their Europa Conference League campaign – kick-off 5.45pm.
Unai Emery’s side then return to Premier League action when they travel to Chelsea on September 24 – kick-off 2pm.
Crystal Palace’s next outing is at home to Fulham on Saturday – kick-off 3pm. The Eagles then take on Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup on September 26, live on Sky Sports – kick-off 8pm.