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Rock-solid Palace earn 2-0 home win over Norwich

LONDON (Reuters) - Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic and Andros Townsend struck either side of halftime for a deserved 2-0 home win over Norwich City in an entertaining Premier League clash on Saturday.

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Serbia midfielder Milivojevic celebrated his 100th appearance for Palace when he netted a 21st-minute penalty and substitute Townsend sealed the win with a neat stoppage-time goal after he was put through by Wilfried Zaha.

Palace manager Roy Hodgson was pleased with his team’s performance and the result, which equalled a club record of six successive unbeaten league matches at home.

“We started brilliantly and really looked like taking the game by the scruff of the neck,” said Hodgson.

“Norwich came back at us, they are a good team, but we tightened up in the second half and got the balance right.

“I thought we would put the game to bed a little bit earlier but that last pass evaded us until Andros did just that.”

Palace dominated early on as Zaha curled a shot narrowly wide in the first minute and Jordan Ayew drew a good save from visiting keeper Ralf Fahrmann, who limped off injured midway through the first half after making his debut for Norwich.

Todd Cantwell then missed a sitter for Palace while Finland striker Teemu Pukki twice came close for the visitors who pressed hard in the second half but failed to create much up front against a packed and well-organised home side.

With time running out for promoted Norwich, Zaha broke down the left flank and gave Townsend the simple task of turning the ball past reserve goalkeeper Michael McGovern into the bottom corner of the net.

Palace climbed up to ninth on 11 points from seven games while Norwich, who stretched their winless away league record to 16 games, were left hovering above the relegation zone.

Norwich head coach Daniel Farke rued his team’s missed opportunities in the opening 45 minutes.

“We created many good scoring chances, especially in the first half, and should have scored and rewarded ourselves with a goal, then there would have been a big chance to win the game.”

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ken Ferris and Clare Fallon