Defoe double as Cherries earn Palace point
- Kevin Friend
Two goals from Jermain Defoe see AFC Bournemouth claim a point in an action-packed 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace.
Defoe scored early for the Cherries after a brilliant training ground move from a corner, but Luka Milivojevic levelled matters with a penalty and Scott Dann's close-range finish put the hosts ahead.
The first-half scoring was yet to be concluded, however, as Defoe pulled out a volleyed finish from the very top drawer on the stroke of the break to send the teams in with a 2-2 scoreline.
Chances followed in the second period as the south London tension raised to near unbearable levels, including a missed added-time Christian Benteke penalty with Asmir Begovic the hero, though both sides were made to settle for a point from a rip-roaring encounter.
There was just one change for the Cherries, enforced in defence, with Steve Cook coming into the centre for the suspended Adam Smith. The switch saw skipper Simon Francis moving to the right full-back role.
Some Wilfried Zaha trickery and a cross allowed the ball to drop to Jeffrey Schlupp outside the area. The Palace left-back tried his luck but his effort arrowed over.
Francis produced a good cross as the Cherries pushed forwards in attack, Defoe getting his header on target but too close to Julian Speroni who gathered at the second time of asking.
A Palace free-kick on the right touchline allowed Andros Townsend to deliver a ball in that Reuben Loftus-Cheek headed wide.
However, on ten minutes Bournemouth had the lead and Defoe had his second of the season.
A wonderfully-worked corner saw Andrew Surman and Junior Stanislas exchange passes, Surman rolling an accurate ball into the centre that Defoe dispatched first time from around the penalty spot after some excellent movement.
Begovic then smothered a Benteke shot after the Belgian had been set free in the box, with the pressure starting to become increasingly exerted by the Eagles.
On the counter Defoe was suddenly through on goal, played onside by the injured Mamadou Sakho, but wanting it on his right foot James Tomkins battled back to tackle and force the striker to shoot wide.
Captain Sakho was replaced by Dann just past the midpoint in the half, the game becoming like a frantic cup tie with both sides finding space to run through the centre of the park.
A flick on from Benteke soon found Zaha running free and he was adjudged to have been brought down by Begovic - Palace had the chance to level from the spot.
The opportunity was taken by Milivojevic who slammed his penalty into the top corner.
A second followed for the Eagles in quick time as penalty box panic allowed for Yohan Cabaye to rifle across a ball that Dann was able to slide home.
The Dann strike was the defender's fourth goal in four consecutive games against Bournemouth.
Amazingly, there was a fourth goal before the break, and Bournemouth were back level in stunning circumstances.
A long ball sought out the run of Defoe and the England man produced a barely believable first-time finish to loop his volley over Speroni but under the bar from the least inviting of angles.
The second half started in slightly more subdued fashion, though Surman soon swished a finish over the goal from the edge of the area.
Cabaye half-volleyed towards goal but Asmir saved while in attack for the visitors Stanislas shot too close to Speroni.
An even better chance was not far behind as Stanislas turned provider, centring low for Defoe, but on a hat-trick the striker scuffed his opening from ten yards well wide.
The tension was ramping up at Selhurst Park, both sides showing their appetite for the game's next goal.
A powered 25-yard strike from substitute Jordon Ibe forced Speroni into a decent parry, Lewis Cook then booked for a challenge on the effervescent Zaha, the Palace winger also cautioned for lashing out at his opponent.
Into the final ten minutes and Dann spurned a terrific opportunity to add to his personal tally against Bournemouth, firing over from three yards after Benteke's measured knockdown.
Late on the Palace push was increasing, Begovic producing a good save down low to his right to keep out Loftus-Cheek; Milivojevic then missing the target with a great chance as he found himself free 12 yards out.
Into five minutes of added time and Palace won their second spot kick after Charlie Daniels dived in on the irrepressible Zaha.
But the golden opportunity was missed by Benteke whose weak effort was well saved by Begovic, the Cherries defence able to pick up the scraps to clear.
The visitors had a late penalty shout of their own turned down as a scintillating game ended all square.