By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) – Jeffrey Schlupp delivered for 10-man Crystal Palace as he marked streaming giant Amazon’s arrival into Premier League broadcasting with a late goal in his side’s 1-0 victory over Bournemouth on Tuesday.
Palace were a man down from the 19th minute when Mamadou Sakho was sent off for a reckless tackle but the hosts were the better team and substitute Schlupp sent the Selhurst Park faithful home happy with his 76th-minute winner.
While it was a great night for Palace, who moved fifth with 21 points before Wednesday’s fixtures, the first live online stream of a Premier League match might have had some viewers clicking to the Christmas shopping options instead.
The first half was especially forgettable with the only talking point being Sakho’s out-of-control attempted clearance that left Bournemouth’s Adam Smith in a heap near the touchline.
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson’s defensive problems worsened soon afterwards when Patrick van Aanholt appeared to overstretch his hamstring, although his replacement Schlupp ended up being the match-winner.
“It’s always difficult playing with 10 men and then we lost our right back, so we were hard pushed,” a happy Hodgson, interviewed at pitchside by former Liverpool striker Michael Owen and former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon, part of a sizeable pundit team, said.
“It looked like we were doomed but the players showed they didn’t think they were doomed with the character they showed.”
Bournemouth, who have now lost four consecutive games to sit 12th with 16 points, failed to capitalise on their extra man though and Palace keeper Vicente Guaita was hardly troubled.
“It was not good enough,” manager Eddie Howe said. “They are very well organised and we ran out of ideas. We just lacked a bit of intelligence and spark.”
On a chilly night Palace’s fans at least kept up a noisy chorus to add some atmosphere and they were rewarded when Schlupp advanced unopposed down the left and fired a powerful left-foot shot through keeper Aaron Ramsdale.
If anything they could have won by a bigger margin as James McArthur’s dipping shot was turned away by Ramsdale soon after.
Amazon have paid 90 million pounds ($115 million) to show 20 Premier League games for three seasons — the first time a streaming service has broadcast English top-flight football.
As part of their coverage viewers who subscribe to its Prime service can watch every one of this week’s 15th round of games — the first time at least one game in a round of fixtures has not been screened live by a television channel.
($1 = 0.7794 pounds)
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)