Bakary Sako on Target as Crystal Palace Beat West Brom to Clinch Third Place in Asia Trophy

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​Deflected first-half goals from Luka Milivojevic and Bakary Sako helped Crystal Palace beat West Bromwich Albion 2-0 in an all-English affair in Hong Kong.

The Premier League Asia Trophy, a tournament which this year featured Liverpool and Leicester City alongside West Brom and Palace in a bid to increase exposure of the Premier League in Asia, is in its eighth year of running and saw the Eagles claim third place earlier on Saturday.

Previous fixtures had seen Liverpool and Leicester advance to the final with 2-0 and 1-1 (7-6 on pens) wins respectively against Palace and West Brom respectively. With the start of the Premier League just three weeks away, the competition has seen more of a competitive edge as teams ready themselves for return of top-flight football.

Despite West Brom starting brightly, Palace took the lead in the 11th minute after Milivojevic expertly curled a 20-yard free-kick in at the near post, although replay show it did take a slight deflection off Baggies midfielder Jake Livermore on its way in.

After some astute defending and a fine save from Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey to keep out an attempt from striker Salomon Rondon, the Eagles then doubled their lead three minutes before half-time. 

Malian international Bakary Sako, who has been very much on the periphery at Selhurst Park and only managed seven appearances in the Premier League last season, had a speculative effort deflect of both Ahmed Hegazy and Craig Dawson on its way past a helpless Ben Foster in the Baggies' goal.

An acrobatic save from Palace substitute goalkeeper Julian Speroni kept out a spectacular attempt from winger Matt Phillips into the second half, but as James McClean fired narrowly over the bar from the edge of the box it became clear that a win for Frank de Boer's men was in sight.


Palace defended well in what proved to be a useful exercise in the Far East for the Eagles and all eyes will now be on Liverpool and Leicester to see who can bring home the Asia Trophy for the first time.