Sebastien Haller’s stunning strike earns a point for West Ham against Palace

The £45million striker netted with a stunning overhead kick.

By Press Association Published: 16 December 2020 - 10.38pm

Sebastien Haller’s spectacular strike rescued a point for West Ham in a 1-1 derby draw against Crystal Palace.

The £45million striker, in danger of being labelled a costly flop after a string of underwhelming displays, netted with a stunning overhead kick to cancel out Christian Benteke’s opener.

Benteke went from hero to zero after the break when sent off for catching Tomas Soucek with his trailing arm as they went up for a header, but 10-man Palace held out for a point.

It was probably no more than they deserved after a dominant first-half display.

Eberechi Eze caught the eye for Palace in the opening stages, the £16million youngster signed from QPR playing a neat one-two with Wilfried Zaha only for his low cross to fizz straight across goal.

Moments later, Joel Ward crossed from the right but Benteke could not get enough on his header from four yards out and the ball bounced wide.

Eberechi Eze, right, made a bright start at the London Stadium (Adam Davy/PA)

Nevertheless, West Ham had been warned, although they almost made the breakthrough when Vladimir Coufal’s cross found Pablo Fornals 10 yards out but his header flew the wrong side of the far post.

Instead Palace went ahead in the 35th minute when Ward whipped in another cross from the right.

This time Benteke, now in what for him is a rich vein of goalscoring form, got in front of Issa Diop to head home his third in three matches for the visitors.

Christian Benteke opened the scoring for Palace (Adam Davy/PA)

It was a distinctly flat first half from an in-form West Ham side, although Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita did have to be on his toes to beat away Jarrod Bowen’s low drive.

Benteke passed up a glorious opportunity for a second before the break for Palace when Andros Townsend danced into the area and laid the ball across goal.

But the Belgium striker opted for a backheel finish and the ball went straight into the arms of Hammers keeper Lukasz Fabianski.

West Ham equalised 10 minutes after the interval in style through Haller, who has been toiling on his own in the Hammers attack of late as replacement for the injured livewire Michail Antonio.

But he made his mark when Coufal crossed from the right, the Ivory Coast forward executing a superb bicycle kick which flew past Guaita and into the net.

Benteke had been booked in the first half for catching Angelo Ogbonna with a flailing arm and, much to his disbelief, he was shown a second yellow 20 minutes from time for the same indiscretion against Soucek.

West Ham looked for a winner but Declan Rice fired inches wide as both these upwardly mobile sides were forced to settle for a point.

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