Zaha’s Brace Nails Manchester United To Opening Game Defeat
Ivory Coast forward, Wilfred Zaha bagged a brace to help Crystal Palace nail Manchester United to a 1-3 defeat in their opening game of the 2020/2021 season.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) September 19, 2020
On the second weekend of the new campaign, United were playing for the first time after being given an extra week of rest due to their involvement in the latter stages of last season’s Europa League.
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s lethargic side were well below their best and Palace took full advantage thanks to Andros Townsend’s seventh-minute strike and Zaha’s 74th-minute penalty against his former club.
There was a hint of controversy about Zaha’s goal as VAR ruled Victor Lindelof had handled Jordan Ayew’s shot even though the ball was hit with force at him from close quarters.
David De Gea saved Ayew’s spot-kick, but VAR intervened again to order a retake as United’s keeper had strayed off his line and this time Zaha converted from the spot.
United’s only major close-season signing Donny van de Beek came off the bench and the former Ajax midfielder reduced the deficit with a debut goal in the 80th minute.
But Zaha, who endured a difficult spell at United before rejoining Palace, showed why the Eagles are so keen to keep him amid speculation over his future as the Ivory Coast winger lashed home in the 85th minute.
For the first time in six years, United were beaten in their opening league game.
It was a chastening start to the season for United, who have come under fire from fans frustrated at their relatively modest transfer outlay compared to their title rivals.