Football

Wood makes dream home debut puts de Boer closer to the exit

BURNLEY CRYSTAL PALACE
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(Chris Wood 3)  

Chris Wood's dream home debut for Burnley pushed Frank de Boer to the brink of the sack as Crystal Palace crashed to a 1-0 defeat at Turf Moor yesterday.

New Zealand international Wood marked his maiden appearance for Burnley following his club-record £15-million (S$26.8m) move by firing the winner early in the first half.

For Palace manager de Boer, his side's fourth successive defeat could bring an abrupt end to his first season at Selhurst Park.

Palace have yet to score a league goal since the former Ajax and Inter Milan coach took charge and reports ahead of this fixture claimed Eagles chairman Steve Parish was already considering sacking the Dutchman.

Desperate to spark Palace into life, de Boer had made three changes and reluctantly switched to a 4-4-2 formation in a bid to kick-start his season.

But it took just three minutes for things to go horribly wrong.

South Korean winger Lee Chung Yong, making his 100th Premier League appearance, turned and played the ball back in the direction of the non-existent Palace defence.

Wood reacted superbly, intercepting the pass and slotting past Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey first-time from the edge of the area.

Burnley's England international goalkeeper Tom Heaton had to be substituted in the 36th minute after suffering a shoulder injury, handing reserve custodian Nick Pope a Premier League debut.

Palace dominated the second half but Pope produced a superb save with his feet to foil Christian Benteke in the 80th minute.

In the final stages, Scott Dann also missed a golden chance, heading wide from three metres.

- WIRE SERVICES

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