Eberechi Eze registered his first Crystal Palace goal with a sublime free-kick as Roy Hodgson’s side thrashed Leeds United 4-1 in an entertaining match at Selhurst Park.
Scott Dann headed in Eze’s corner to put Palace ahead after 12 minutes, before £19.5m summer signing Eze, 22, curled his set-piece expertly into the top corner.
Leeds striker Patrick Bamford had been denied an equaliser when his excellent, chipped finish was ruled out by the Video Assistant Referee because of his outstretched arm being offside.
But Bamford, who endured a difficult loan spell with Palace in 2015, took his next chance just as well, controlling Mateusz Klich’s header with his chest before firing into the bottom corner.
Palace’s two-goal advantage was restored before half-time as Helder Costa conceded an own-goal in attempting to block Patrick van Aanholt’s cross from the left.
Pascal Struijk headed narrowly wide and Ezgjan Alioski was denied as Leeds chased a second-half response, but Jordan Ayew put the result beyond doubt with Palace’s fourth on 70 minutes.
Crystal Palace moved up to sixth with victory, three points behind leaders Southampton, as Leeds dropped to 14th.
A disappointing 2-0 defeat by Wolves last Friday saw Hodgson’s side punished for a slow start at Molineux – one from which they could not recover. They could ill afford the same against Leeds. With Eze and Ayew handed starts – along with James McArthur in place of suspended captain Luka Milivojevic – Palace duly responded at Selhurt Park as Eze set up Van Aanholt to force an early save from Illan Meslier.
Eze’s influence grew from there as the England youth international offered boundless energy in both attack and defence, though it was his quality from set-pieces which allowed Palace to stamp their authority.
After Dann managed to squeeze his header past Meslier’s fingertips, Eze, in just his third Premier League start since moving from Queens Park Rangers, won his free-kick with a driving run before whipping the ball over the wall with power and precision.