Klose hands Palace narrow defeat
Miroslav Klose’s solitary goal gave Lazio a 1-0 victory as Crystal Palace completed their pre-season programme with defeat at Selhurst Park.
The German pounced on a Julian Speroni fumble to score the only goal but there were many postives for Eagles manager Ian Holloway to take.
Palace controlled possession for long periods and created enough chances in the second half to have deserved a draw, with Kevin Phillips and Dwight Gayle combining especially well up front.
The Eagles enjoyed plenty of possession early on, with Mile Jedinak and Owen Garvan seeing plenty of the ball.
Although they struggled to break down the Lazio defence, it was Palace who created the first chance of the game when Aaron Wilbraham narrowly missed connecting with Owen Garvan’s free kick.
But it was Lazio who went ahead and showed Palace that one mistake can see top teams punish you. Joel Ward and Jedinak gave the ball away cheaply form a defensive throw and it found its way to Antonia Candreva on the edge of the box.
His powerful shot looked easy for Speroni but he fumbled it straight to Klose, who did what he has been doing all of his career and converted the rebound. Two mistakes in quick succession from Jedinak and Speroni and Palace were punished.
Twice more in the first half Palace gave the ball away cheaply. Gabbidon’s blushes were saved by Senad Lulic failing to find anyone with a cross and Damien Delaney had to rescued by Speroni and a goalline Dean Moxey clearance when he misplaced a pass in his own box.
Palace, who lost Jerome Thomas to what looked like a calf injury after 21 minutes, had their moments going forward in the first half too without ever really testing Federico Marchetti in the Lazio goal.
A good move involving Gabbidon and Moxey ended with a cross too close to the keeper and only a late Andre Dias block denied Wilbraham converting another Moxey cross.
Palace made six changes at half time with only Moxey, Speroni, Jedinak and Delaney staying on but it was Lazio who had the first chance as Lucas Biglia raced through on goal but was denied by Speroni.
Phillips and Gayle were looking lively up top and both could and probably should have brought Palace level.
Gayle made space for himself in the six-yard box but shot horribly wide and was then denied by Marchetti when he volleyed Elliot Grandin’s free kick toward goal.
Phillips belied his 40 years to run beyond the Lazio defence but Marchetti spread himself well to block with his legs.
Jedinak had to be withdrawn after getting a knock to the face while academy graduates Alex Wynter, Hiram Boateng and Jerome Williams all got a run out.
Lazio made plenty of changes too and the substitutions took the sting out of the game but it Holloways would have pleased with the performance as he looks ahead to Palace’s Premier League opener against Spurs next Sunday.
Palace: Speroni, Ward (Dikgacoi 46), Gabbidon (Ramage 46), Delaney (Boateng 76), Moxey (Jerome Williams 73), Jedinak (Wynter 70), Garvan (Phillips 46), Jonny Williams (Grandin 46), Dobbie (Bolasie), Thomas (de Silva, 22, O’Keefe 46)), Wilbraham (Gayle 46).
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