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Roy Hodgson heaped praise on Joachim Andersen following Crystal Palace’s hard-fought 1-1 draw against Brentford, during which the defender’s late and scrappy equalizer salvaged a point for his team.
Andersen managed to poke the ball past goalkeeper Mark Flekken with just 14 minutes left on the clock. Prior to that, Kevin Schade had given Brentford a deserved lead in the first half, unleashing a magnificent finish from within the left channel.
After a first half dominated by Brentford, Crystal Palace improved their performance in the second half. However, frustration loomed as Flekken thwarted Jefferson Lerma, Jordan Ayew, and Odsonne Edouard with a series of smart second-half saves.
Roy Hodgson, the manager of Palace, regarded Andersen as the standout player on the field, highlighting his pivotal role in the team’s overall play.
“I thought he was a colossus [on Saturday],” Hodgson commented. “He won every header at every end of the field, every challenge. He was a leader figure. He drove the team forwards and wasn’t afraid to come more than midway in the opponent’s half. He was spraying balls around 20 to 25 yards from goal. He took responsibility. It was fitting he got the goal.”
However, the visitors had an early opportunity in the game as Edouard broke free on a counter-attack, but a last-ditch tackle by Ethan Pinnock denied him a shot at goal.
Brentford gained momentum as Yoane Wissa headed over from Christian Norgaard’s cross, eventually securing a deserved lead. Schade capitalized on Norgaard’s assist, cutting inside from the left flank and firing a shot into the far corner past Sam Johnstone.
Following a downpour in west London, the tempo of the game slowed. Before halftime, Palace’s attempts through Jordan Ayew and Eberechi Eze lacked conviction, while Brentford’s Yoane Wissa and Nathan Collins missed opportunities with their headers.
Crystal Palace altered their approach in the second half by shifting Eze to the left wing, previously occupied by Jeffrey Schlupp. This tactical adjustment allowed Eze to take on defenders more frequently, rendering Palace a more potent threat after the break.
Palace’s persistence paid off in the 68th minute as Edouard’s free-kick was tipped over the bar by Flekken. From the ensuing corner, Flekken saved Lerma’s close-range header and promptly rose to deny Ayew’s effort on the goal line.
Ultimately, the pressure exerted by Palace yielded results. Ayew delivered a well-placed ball to Andersen on the right side of the box. The central defender managed to beat Flekken to the ball, and despite Aaron Hickey’s efforts to prevent it, the ball crossed the line.
Brentford Lineup: Flekken (7); Hickey (6), Collins (7), Pinnock (7), Henry (7); Norgaard (6), Jensen (6), Janelt (6); Mbeumo (6), Wissa (6), Schade (7) Substitutes: Onyeka (6), Lewis-Potter (n/a)
Crystal Palace Lineup: Johnstone (6); Ward (6), Andersen (7), Guehi (7), Mitchell (6); Lerma (6), Doucoure (6), Eze (7); Ayew (8), Edouard (6), Schlupp (5) Substitutes: Ahamada (6), Mateta (6)
Player of the Match: Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace)