EPL leader Chelsea loses 2-1 to Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha sparked Palace’s comeback after Cesc Fabregas’ fifth-minute opener for Chelsea, with the winger equalizing in the 9th and setting up Christian Benteke for the winning goal barely a minute later.

Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha in action with Chelsea's Gary Cahill.   -  REUTERS

Premier League leader Chelsea lost for the first time in nearly three months as relegation-threatened Crystal Palace won 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to keep up its resurgence under Sam Allardyce.

MATCH CENTRE

Wilfried Zaha sparked Palace’s comeback after Cesc Fabregas’ fifth-minute opener for Chelsea, with the winger equalizing in the 9th and setting up Christian Benteke for the winning goal barely a minute later.

It was only Chelsea’s fourth loss of the season, and first since a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham on Jan 4.

Spurs are leading the unlikely chase to reel in Chelsea, closing to within seven points after a 2-0 win at Burnley on Saturday. Both teams have nine games left to play.

Palace had goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey to thank for preserving the lead as Chelsea dominated after going behind, with the defensive effort even harder because of injuries to centre-backs James Tomkins and Scott Dann.

Palace has won its last four games but is only four points above the relegation zone.

Chelsea lost despite having star winger Eden Hazard back in the team after injury.

LEICESTER CONTINUES WINNING STREAK

Leicester’s revival continued under manager Craig Shakespeare as Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy handed the champion a 2-0 victory over Stoke. Shakespeare, who replaced title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri, joined Guus Hiddink, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, and Carlo Ancelotti in winning his first four Premier League games in charge.