LONDON — Crystal Palace’s reliance on Wilfried Zaha was exposed again as Southampton exploited his absence to earn its first win in the English Premier League 2-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
It will soon be two years since Palace last won without its finest player, as goals from Danny Ings and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg demonstrated how vital it was that it again recently persuaded Zaha to sign a new contract.
Palace’s last victory without him was in September 2016, so when he failed a late fitness test because of a groin strain in training on Friday it represented a significant setback.
After an uneventful first half, Palace contributed to the first goal by watching an ambitious cross into the penalty area by Cedric Soares. Ings, in front of goal, tidily finished under Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
Hennessey saved a poorly struck penalty down the middle by substitute Charlie Austin, but Southampton made certain of taking three points in stoppage time when substitute Matt Targett sent Hojbjerg through and the midfielder rounded the goalie to score.
Palace has lost three of its four matches.