Benteke hails Zaha partnership after five-star Crystal Palace display

Belgian striker Benteke, who had a desperately poor run in front of goal with just three in his previous 52 games before Sunday, was handed a start at The Hawthorns on Sunday after an impressive showing off the bench against Newcastle, while Zaha was available again after his bout of coronavirus.

Zaha played a key role in Darnell Furlong’s own goal, before Palace ran riot in the second half following Matheus Pereira’s controversial red card.

“I’m really pleased with the brace, I’m delighted,” said Benteke. “The most important thing is the three points but I am delighted with my two goals.

“Wilf is one of the best players in the Premier League and showed again how huge he is for this team and this club.

“It’s a pleasure to play with Wilf because he brings a lot of different aspects of his game. He can create chances, he can pass, he can do everything, so we are really pleased to have him in this team.”

Benteke has faced a long wait for a chance and must do more than score a brace against a struggling West Brom side to prove he is worthy of being one of Palace’s top earners.

However, the Eagles look a better side with him in the forward line and bringing the best out of the creative talents around him – as was the case for Zaha’s second goal after some wonderful play from Eberechi Eze.

“It wasn’t just the goals, it was a lot of other aspects to his play which were good,” manager Roy Hodgson said of Benteke’s display.

“He’s waited a long time, he’s been on the bench and waited quite a long time this season without actually getting in and showing what he can do, and that’s even going back into the lockdown period. He’s been patient but he’s never stopped working, to be fair to him.

“Today, he showed the type of player he was when Palace bought him from Liverpool and, once again, he showed everybody out there: ‘I haven’t lost anything, I’m still Christian Benteke. You can still rely on me.’”

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