/ Soccer

Crystal Palace 0-2 Swansea

Updated: Sunday, 22 Sep 2013 16:13 | Comments

Spanish striker Michu put Swansea ahead in the second minute
Spanish striker Michu put Swansea ahead in the second minute

Swansea showed no sign of a Europa League hangover as they outplayed Crystal Palace to win 2-0 at Selhurst Park.

Fresh from demolishing Valencia at the Mestalla, Michael Laudrup urged his players to re-focus on their return to domestic action in south London.

They did just that, and in some style, outclassing the Eagles from the outset in a 2-0 win that in no way reflected their dominance.

It took just 80 seconds for Michu to set Swansea on course for a fourth consecutive win against Palace, rifling home right in front of Ian Holloway - the Palace boss having taken up a position in an executive box behind the goal as he completed a two-match touchline ban.

He would have been forgiven for watching the first half through his fingers, with Chico Flores rattling the post moments later, before Michu and Angel Rangel came close to netting.

Dean Moxey was also fortunate not to give away a penalty in strikingly similar fashion to the one he conceded on the opening day against Tottenham - the decision that led to the Holloway comments which led to his ban in the first place.

The Welsh outfit would not be denied for long, though. With no defenders on the Palace bench and Damien Delaney forced off injured, it was all too simple for Nathan Dyer to rifle home from debutant Alvaro Vazquez's pull back in the 48th minute.

Vazquez wasted a chance to extend their lead further as the game petered out, with Swansea securing a win with worrying ease for the Eagles.

The visitors made five alterations following their trip to Spain, with Wayne Routledge coming in against the club with whom he started his career.

It was the winger's first return to Selhurst Park since leaving the club in 2005, when he opted to join Tottenham following the Eagles' relegation from the top flight.

Routledge was reminded of that decision from the outset by the home support, who were cursing poor defending after just 80 seconds.

Ending a move he started, Michu collected a pass from Jonjo Shelvey, via a slight deflection off Routledge, and lashed home through Julian Speroni's legs.

Swansea should have had a second inside four minutes after Chico capitalised on more sloppiness at the back, only to see an effort come back off the post.

As well as struggling to cope with Swansea's attacking threat, the Eagles were failing to produce any chances of their own.

Jason Puncheon saw a potentially-threatening free-kick blocked, while the Swansea defence cleared after Michel Vorm flapped at a Barry Bannan free-kick.

The hosts were soon on the back foot again as Routledge pulled the ball back for Michu, whose thunderous strike flew just over thanks to a slight deflection off Danny Gabbidon.

The Spaniard nodded over from the resulting corner, while there looked to be a decent penalty appeal against Moxey after the recently-booked full-back handled a Shelvey cross.

Speroni palmed away a superb Rangel volley from the resulting corner as Swansea continued to look a class above.

It was not until the 37th minute that Palace managed to test Vorm for the first time, although Adlene Guedioura's long-range strike was easily dealt with.

Their best chance of the half came towards the end, with a fine Adrian Mariappa cross set to find Cameron Jerome at the back post until Rangel's late interception.

It was a miserable opening 45 minutes for the hosts, which got even worse when Delaney went down injured.

The Irish centre-back was unable to return for the second half and had to be replaced by midfielder Jose

Campana as Palace had no defenders on the bench.

It meant captain Mile Jedinak was forced to play as makeshift centre-back and that alteration reaped immediate rewards for Swansea.

After Speroni saved Vazquez's initial effort, the debutant pulled back for Dyer and the diminutive winger rifled home three minutes after the restart.

Speroni took a knock in the process but played on after treatment, with Moxey somewhat fortunate not to receive a second booking for a late challenge on Rangel.

The full-back reacted badly to the challenge and was booked for his reaction, with Marouane Chamakh also entering referee Kevin Friend's notebook for his part in the handbags that followed.

When attentions returned to the football, Vazquez wasted a glorious chance to put Swansea ahead, scooping over after from neat team interplay.

Puncheon twice failed with hopeful efforts as Palace attempted to claw one back, with Holloway, by now in the main stand, bringing on Jerome Thomas and Dwight Gayle in search of a turnaround.

It was not to be, though, with Shelvey bending one over as the game petered out.

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