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Crystal Palace 3–3 Liverpool: Eagles in stunning comeback thanks to Dwight Gayle

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By Mark Ritson at Selhurst Park CRYSTAL Palace conjured up one of the best comebacks the Premier League has ever seen tonight, grabbing a brilliant 3-3 draw at home to Liverpool. The Premier League title-chasers were cruising to a 3-0 win thanks to Joe Allen, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, before the Eagles produced three goals to halt the Reds in stunning fashion. Damien Delaney grabbed one back before substitute Dwight Gayle sent SE25 into mayhem with two well-taken strikes. It will be a game you won't forget about in a hurry in what has been a quite breath-taking season for Crystal Palace Football Club. It was an electric atmosphere inside Selhurst for the last home game of the season, with Tony Pulis' name sung in all home areas of the stadium. Liverpool's task was simple. They had to win, and by a huge margin to keep up with Manchester City's superior goal difference of plus-nine if they wanted to have any chance of landing the Premier League title. Luis Suarez conjured up the first real opportunity when he got the better of Adrian Mariappa on the left side of the box before delivering a dangerous low ball, but Joe Ledley got back in time to clear the danger. Brendan Rodgers' men thought they should have had a penalty when Yannick Bolasie swung a leg out to clear but instead caught Glenn Johnson, before Suarez ran onto the loose ball and forced a good save from Speroni from a tight angle. Palace, though, caught the visitors out with some slick play by Jason Puncheon, and following one particular corner, Scott Dann went close at the back post. However, the Reds stepped up a gear and should have taken the lead on 15 minutes when a ball over the top found Johnson of all people ghosting through the Palace defence. With Speroni rushing off his line, Johnson headed the ball over the custodian and just over the crossbar. But moments later, they finally took the lead after heavy pressure through Joe Allen's header. Steven Gerrard whipped in a corner towards the back post and the Welsh international was completely unmarked to nod past Speroni from six yards. "Attack!", was the cry from the Liverpool fans, knowing full well they needed to keep it up. Suarez was proving to be a handful down the left and delivered a dangerous-looking ball which Speroni caught with ease, before Johnson got down the right past Joel Ward and delivered low, only for Dann to come to Palace's rescue. Mariappa was then booked for blatant handball in the middle of the park, and from a full 30-yards, Suarez stepped up and curled a ferocious shot just past the post. Palace weren't down and out just yet and nearly grabbed an equaliser through Puncheon, whose low shot was expertly tipped around the post by Simon Mignolet. And then they were denied by a world class save from the stopper following a stunning effort from Mile Jedinak. Picking up the ball 20 yards from goal, the Australian let rip with a shot heading towards the top corner, only for Mignolet to get his fingertips to it. Puncheon then saw a header go over as the hosts improved before the break. Speroni pulled off another top save though before the half was over, denying Suarez again with a brilliant one-handed save down at his near post. Damien Delaney had to be alert to stop Sturridge early on in the second half, before Suarez was denied a spot-kick after a clever pass from his strike partner. In fact, the Uruguayan let vented his frustrations too much at referee Mark Clattenburg that he was yellow-carded. Speroni then stepped up the plate to deny Sturridge with a stunning save on to the post, before Suarez blazed the rebound over. Chants of "Sign him up" came from the Holmesdale, with Speroni's contract set to expire in less than two months. However, he could do nothing to stop Liverpool's quickfire brace to extend their lead to 3-0. Sturridge grabbed the second when his shot from the edge of the box took a huge nick off Delaney before going past Speroni's outstretched left hand. And then 90 seconds later, Suarez got lucky with a loose ball 35 yards from goal before playing the ball to Raheem Sterling on the left, before the winger played the ball back to the striker to slot home under Speroni. Suarez has now equalled the record for most Premier League goals in a 38-game season with 31 strikes, joining the likes of Alan Shearer and Cristiano Ronaldo. Dwight Gayle came on for Puncheon just past the hour-mark as Pulis look to change things around going forward, but still Liverpool powered forward. Johnson cut in from the right before forcing Speroni to tip the ball over his crossbar, before Sturridge squared low inside the box only for Dann to mop up. The Eagles looked to hit Liverpool on the break through the likes of Ledley, Jedinak and Bolasie but the Reds' defence stood firm. But in the space of two minutes, the game was back on for the Eagles as they grabbed two goals in quick succession. Delaney of all people got the first, shooting from 25-yards into the top corner following a deflection off Johnson. And then following a quick break thanks to Bolasie, the winger teed up Gayle to side-foot home from 12-yards out. The comeback was on. And it was completed minutes later when Murray chested down a long ball into the path of Gayle, who took a touch before placing low under Mignolet. Cue wild scenes from the Palace support. And woe from Liverpool's. It looks like the title race is over, not that Palace care too much. What a great send-off to the brilliant Palace support this season. The party continues on Sunday with a trip to already relegated Fulham. Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, Dikgacoi (Ince 85), Jedinak, Ledley, Bolasie, Puncheon (Gayle 65), Chamakh (Murray 71). Subs Not Used: Hennessey, Gabbidon, Parr, O'Keefe.

Crystal Palace 3–3 Liverpool: Eagles in stunning comeback thanks to Dwight Gayle


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