Trezeguet hits brace as Villa spank Palace

Trezeguet scored twice as Aston Villa beat Crystal Palace 2-0 to keep alive their hopes of avoiding relegation in a game which included two controversial video assistant referee decisions.

Mamadou Sakho thought he had put Palace ahead when the ball appeared to strike the defender’s shoulder on its way into the net – but it was ruled out for handball after a lengthy delay, much to the visitors’ dismay.

Villa then took the lead just before half-time when Egypt winger Trezeguet side-footed the ball into the net at the back post after Palace had failed to clear a free-kick.

Shortly after the break, the hosts were awarded a penalty by referee Martin Atkinson after Patrick van Aanholt’s challenge on Jack Grealish, but the decision was overturned after another long VAR check.

Villa’s first Premier League win since 21 January was sealed when Trezeguet toe-poked home his second goal to leave the West Midlands side four points from safety with three matches, against Everton (away), Arsenal (home) and West Ham (away), to go.

After the final whistle, Christian Benteke, who was playing against his former club, was shown a red card as tempers boiled over.

Palace, who have now lost their past five league games, started with Wilfred Zaha, who revealed before the match he had received racist abuse on social media.

Palace manager Roy Hodgson described the abuse as “cowardly and despicable”.

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