Kouyate lauds Zaha after goal seals victory over Huddersfield

Crystal Palace midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate described team-mate Wilfried Zaha as an amazing player after his side’s 1-0 win at Huddersfield.

Zaha proved the difference in Palace’s first Premier League win since the opening day, marking his return to the side after a groin injury with a brilliant solo effort.

The Eagles winger tricked his way into the penalty area between two defenders and produced a curling finish into the top corner seven minutes before half-time.

“It was an unbelievable goal, yes,” said Kouyate, who made his first league start for the club following his summer move from London rivals West Ham.

“It was a solo goal. We know Wilf is an amazing player, a very, very good player, but today – what a goal for him. He’s very important for us.”

Roy Hodgson’s side have lost their last 10 games in which Zaha has not featured, including the 2-0 home defeat to Southampton before the international break.

Palace’s second win of the campaign – they won their opening game at Fulham – has lifted them up to 11th place in the table.

“It was a very important win because we needed the points,” Kouyate said. “We lost our last game, but came here for the points and played as a team.

“It’s very good for our confidence. Two away wins and now we need a home win.”

Wilfried Zaha scored the only goal as Crystal Palace beat Huddersfield (Mike Egerton/PA)

Kouyate, a late substitute for Senegal in Sunday’s 2-2 African Nations Cup qualifier in Madagascar, played the full 90 minutes in the Premier League for the first time under Hodgson.

“I was ready for the start,” Kouyate added. “Today was very good for me because the team won. We will continue to work hard and now we have another hard game coming up next week against Newcastle.”

Huddersfield laid seige to Palace’s goal for large periods, particularly in the second half, but lacked Zaha-style quality in front of goal and have yet to register their first top-flight win of the season.

Boss David Wagner said his side had turned in their best display so far this term and did not deserve a third defeat. He acknowledged the quality of Zaha’s winner, but could not hide his disappointment.

“This was a situation where we should have done better,” Wagner said. “The players know this is not the first time he has scored a goal like this.

“This is the only thing which makes me really angry. We prepared our players for this situation and we were unable to avoid this goal.

“Apart from this, the performance was good. There’s no doubt about the result, it wasn’t good for sure.

“But we’ll take it on the chin because we know exactly what we have to do better.

“We need more luck and we have to use our opportunities better. This is a very easy summary of this game.”

- Press Association

 

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