BY ANDREW McSTEEN
Roy Hodgson believes a rare saved penalty by Luka Milivojevic had a big impact on Crystal Palace’s 3-1 defeat against Southampton on Tuesday evening.
Milivojevic had his spot-kick saved at 1-1 after Saints striker Danny Ings had cancelled out Christian Benteke’s 2nd-minute goal.
Ings then struck in the 75th minute to make it 3-1, following Che Adams’ early second half goal.
“It’s unusual for him to miss a penalty,” Hodgson said about the Serbian’s effort from the spot, which was denied by Fraser Forster. “I can only remember him missing one and that was a long time ago. So I was pretty convinced when he stepped up that he would do what Luka always does [and score].
“You move on from that. This is part of football. Football is 100s and 100s and maybe 1000s of individual moments that occur.
“There are so many mistakes that happen in the game of football, so many things that happen, but maybe don’t receive too much attention because there’s no particular outcome – the player who’s made the mistake isn’t punished for the mistake by the opponent’s not scoring the goal.
“We didn’t even discuss that (the penalty) at half-time. Obviously, he’s disappointed about it, but it was never mentioned. And as far as I know, it wasn’t mentioned after the game either.
“But of course, it did have a major effect upon the result, because instead of coming in 2-1, we came in 1-1 and then two minutes into the second half from the corner kick with a slightly miss-hit shot, they sneak in and go into the lead 2-1.
“Suddenly we’re having to send players forward and take a few chances and open ourselves up a lot more which eventually let them get the third goal which sealed the victory.”
It marked an evening to forget for the Serbian on his 150th Premier League appearance – all with Palace – as he was substituted in the 65th minute, but the Palace manager took time to reflect on the quality of service he has seen in evidence from his captain.
Hodgson added: “It’s a pity for him on his 150th appearance. But I think he, and we [as a club], should be very, very pleased with those 150 appearances because he’s been quite fantastic. Certainly in the four years I’ve been at the club I really can’t fault him in any way, he’s outstanding on the field of play and good off the field, because he’s a good captain.
“As a result I can only congratulate him on those 150 appearances and wish him many more and I’m pretty certain he’ll be scoring many more penalties and goals in that period of time.”
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