Huddersfield Town became the second team in the Premier League era to be relegated before the end of March after a 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace saw them slip 19 points from safety with six games remaining.
Wins for 17th-placed Burnley and Southampton, in 16th, sealed Huddersfield’s fate as they matched Derby County’s record, set in 2008, for the earliest relegation from the Premier League after 32 games.
Huddersfield were doing a fine job of frustrating Palace in the Selhurst Park sunshine, with the hosts rarely threatening until the latter stages.
Huddersfield’s resistance was broken when Wilfried Zaha was fouled in the penalty area in the 76th minute, Luka Milivojevic converting from the spot to put Palace in front.
Patrick van Aanholt’s late goal sealed the win as Huddersfield slumped to their 24th defeat of the season.
As the players left the pitch, news filtered through that Burnley’s 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton’s 1-0 victory at Brighton & Hove Albion had confirmed Huddersfield’s relegation.
Huddersfield came into the game on the back of three straight defeats but had much the better of the early action, with Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita forced into two fine saves.
With Burnley in front, Southampton took the lead in the 53rd minute at Brighton, and Palace, with their own survival of paramount importance, stepped up the pressure, Andros Townsend and Zaha both close to breaking the deadlock.
Zaha was Palace’s chief threat and won the foul from Juninho Bacuna before the reliable Milivojevic hammered the penalty home to put Huddersfield on the brink.
“It is hard to say what I am feeling, disappointment of course,” Huddersfield manager Jan Siewert said. “It sums the season up that a penalty decides the direction.
“When you go into the dressing room at half time and get applause from the opponent you must have done something right. But it is not enough to win games in the Premier League.”
Van Aanholt’s late strike from 12 yards sealed a crucial victory for Palace, who are now eight points clear of the relegation zone, while Huddersfield’s two-year stint in the Premier League is over.
Published at Sat, 30 Mar 2019 10:10:20 +0000