Crystal Palace 2 Bournemouth 2: Begovic denies Benteke in stoppage time after Defoe's double
Asmir Begovic saved a stoppage-time Christian Benteke penalty as Bournemouth clung onto a 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace and consigned the luckless Eagles back to the foot of the Premier League.
Roy Hodgson has overseen a general improvement in Palace since replacing Frank de Boer and they were the better team in this contest, but were undone by a piece of Machiavellian set-piece work, a moment of Jermain Defoe inspiration and Benteke's late loss of composure.
Bournemouth took the lead contentiously when Defoe scored the 200th league goal of his career, but only after Jeff Schlupp appeared to have been fouled.
Palace deservedly equalised from the spot through Luka Milivojevic after the superb Wilfried Zaha was fouled before taking the lead swiftly after with a Scott Dann strike, which came with a sliver of Premier League history.
But Defoe levelled the scores with a spectacular hit from a near impossible angle as Palace were made to lament a string of missed chances in each half.
Zaha won another spot-kick in time added on, but Benteke's weak effort was comfortably saved, as he remains without a goal this season, and Swansea City's win over West Brom leaves Palace looking upwards from the bottom once again.
Palace had started brightly, but the visitors' first chance resulted in the opener as Andrew Surman and Junior Stanislas worked a short corner before the ball was squared for Defoe to clip a low finish past Wayne Hennessey, but Palace raged at referee Kevin Friend after Josh King pulled Schlupp's shirt to free his strike partner of the full-back's attentions.
Benteke spurned a chance one-on-one, Andros Townsend's drive was blocked and Mamadou Sakho somehow could not score when Surman cleared as the goal yawned in front of the defender.
Sakho had to be replaced by Dann after overstretching while trying to play out from the back and the hosts' luck looked all out as Benteke failed to convert a cross from Zaha after another raid from wide.
But it was no surprise that Zaha sparked a turnaround in their fortunes, latching onto a Benteke flick, leaving Nathan Ake in his wake and rounding Begovic, whose trip prompted Friend to point to the spot and Milivojevic made no mistake, converting into the top-right corner.
The contest careered at breakneck pace towards the break and Selhurst Park was rocking when Dann popped up unmarked to convert Yohan Cabaye's centre and become the first Premier League centre-back to score in four successive games against the same team.
But that rollicking atmosphere was flattened by Defoe's astonishing strike three minutes into first-half stoppage time, nipping ahead of Dann and lashing the ball back over Julian Speroni's head and into the top-left corner from an acute angle.
200 - Jermain Defoe has scored his 200th goal in league football, with 20 of them coming for Bournemouth. Marksman. pic.twitter.com/guBtrVrsdX-- OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 9, 2017
The second half continued at a similar pace, but without as much cutting edge and a last-gasp intervention from Steve Cook took a goal off the toe of Cabaye.
Dann blazed over from three yards after Benteke flicked into his path, Begovic saved sharply low to his right from a Ruben Loftus-Cheek drive and Milivojevic toe-poked wide from eight yards as Palace laid siege to the Bournemouth penalty area.
The best chance came Benteke's way, though.
Zaha again proved too much for Bournemouth to handle as he was tripped by Charlie Daniels in the box, only for Begovic to guess right and parry Benteke's pathetic penalty.
Key Opta stats:
- Crystal Palace have drawn three consecutive games in the Premier League for the first time since May 2005, while managed by Iain Dowie.
- Bournemouth have dropped 10 points from winning positions in the Premier League this term; a joint-high alongside Watford and West Brom (also 10).
- The 35-year-old has netted nine goals in his last 10 league appearances against Crystal Palace, scoring in each of his last three games at Selhurst Park.
- In fact, Defoe has scored a brace in each of his last three Premier League appearances against Crystal Palace; his longest such run against a single opponent.
- Christian Benteke has missed three of his five penalties for Crystal Palace in the Premier League, including each of the last two.