Palace boss Hodgson defends winger Zaha over penalties

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson believes winger Wilfried Zaha is not a cheat.

Crystal Palace's English manager Roy Hodgson. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson believes winger Wilfried Zaha is not a cheat, insisting that the Ivorian did not dive to win two penalties during Saturday’s 2-2 Premier League draw with Bournemouth.

After Bournemouth took the lead, midfielder Luka Milivojevic equalised for Palace from the spot before halftime, while striker Christian Benteke failed to convert a potentially match-winning penalty in the 93rd minute.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe questioned both awards after the game but his Palace counterpart maintains that the referee made the right calls, saying Zaha was fouled on each occasion.

“He doesn’t dive, that’s the simple fact of the matter,” Hodgson told reporters.

”Apart from the two penalties awarded there were at least half a dozen other occasions where if you look at it with a fine-toothed comb, like everyone seems to want to do, there could have been more penalties.

“And if you really want to talk about refereeing decisions I suggest you look at the first Jermain Defoe goal, where their player has two arms around our defender, stopping him moving.”

The draw left Palace at the bottom of the table, two points behind 17th-placed West Bromwich Albion, as they prepare to host ninth-placed Watford on Tuesday.