Questionable refereeing left Aston Villa reeling with multiple bookings ultimately causing their downfall in a 1-0 loss against Crystal Palace.
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Aston Villa travelled to Selhurst Park to try and get only their second win at Crystal Palace’s home ground in 40 years.
It took less than a minute for Aston Villa to register a shot on target as Wesley found himself free on the right hand side of the box – but his shot was weak and straight at the Palace ‘keeper.
Early on, in and around the first ten minutes, Aston Villa looked like they were resting on their laurels a little – expecting free-kicks and other decisions to go their way – and they weren’t.
Palace had a shout for a penalty just after the ten minute mark as Douglas Luiz stooped low for a header and knocked into Jordan Ayew – who went to ground far too late the contact to have been the reason.
Douglas Luiz was booked in the 17th minute as he made a cynical challenge on Kouyate who was about to get on his bike just inside the Aston Villa half.
Palace had the majority of chances for the next fifteen or so minutes, firing a few over the bar.
Neil Taylor was booked in the 34th minute for a late challenge on Wilf Zaha.
Frédéric Guilbert was booked just five minutes later for clipping Jeffrey Shlupp’s heel from behind. The resulting free-kick from Luka Milivojevic was a good one, fired towards the bottom-right of the goal – but Tom Heaton was wise to it and palmed it out wide.
There were a few corners for Palace from here, as one ball was played into Kouyate at point-blank range – which was saved by Tom Heaton once more.
Trézéguet was booked in the final two minutes of the half (bar added time) for a late challenge on Joel Ward.
The second half started with no changes from either side.
Jota won a free-kick on the edge of the box early into the half, which Trézéguet stepped up to take before firing it high and wide.
Kouyate had a golden opportunity when Jordan Ayew was dispossessed on the halfway line and slid it through for the midfielder who skied his shot.
Trézéguet was sent off in the 54th minute as he left a trailing leg outstretched against Wilfried Zaha and which bundled the Ivory Coast winger to the floor.
Tom Heaton was forced into a world-class save in the 58th as Milivojevic fired a curling effort towards the top right corner. Milivojevic was booked shortly after for a push on Jack Grealish.
Jota was replaced by Keinan Davis in the 59th as Dean Smith worked with his 10-man team.
Kouyate was booked for a challenge on Jack Grealish in the 72nd.
Jordan Ayew gave Crystal Palace the lead shortly after after a well-worked counter-attack and some poor defensive communication from Tyrone Mings and Jack Grealish, allowing Ayew to slip between them and put the ball past Tom Heaton.
Henri Lansbury replaced Wesley with just under six minutes of normal time remaining.
There were six minutes added on at the end of the 90. Two questionable refereeing decisions came within this six with a foul of Grealish and a foul on Guilbert, neither of which were awarded as free-kicks.
Lansbury looked to have equalised in the 95th minutes when the ball fell to him on the right-hand side of the net, but the goal was disallowed as Jack Grealish was adjudged to have dived in the build-up and was subsequently booked.
All in all – it was a poor performance from Villa – but an even poorer performance from referee Kevin Friend.