No regrets for Benteke over penalty palaver

Ian Watson

Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke insists he has no regrets over his controversial penalty miss.

The forward scored his first goal since May in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Leicester after criticism following a fluffed spot-kick against Bournemouth. He also provided his first assist of the season, earning our Early Winner award. 

Benteke defied team orders to take a last-minute penalty, ahead of Luka Milivojevic, and saw it saved in the 2-2 draw with the Cherries last weekend.

He came under heavy fire before helping the Eagles to their first away win, and away goals, of the season at Leicester.

“I didn’t feel sorry for anything,” said the Belgium international.

“I just took my responsibilities. I didn’t hide myself, I knew that my time was going to come. I’d been working really hard for the team and I didn’t score. On Saturday I did the same and I’ve got what I deserve.

“The thing is I said to myself in the past few weeks ‘yes you are not scoring, just work hard for the team then, do something for the team that could help the team win’. On Saturday I did both, I worked really hard and scored so I’m really pleased.”

Benteke also celebrated his 19th-minute opener by putting his fingers in his ears, a response to the flak he had taken.

“That means I will never give up and I will just keep going on my own,” he added.

The former Liverpool man set up Wilfried Zaha for Palace’s second goal before Wilfred Ndidi was dismissed for the hosts and Bakary Sako made it 3-0 in added time.

And boss Roy Hodgson insisted Palace moved on from the Bournemouth incident quickly but remains frustrated Benteke will be banned against Swansea on Saturday after his fifth booking of the season.

Hodgson said: “He’s always been forgiven. These things happen in football.

“Most people connected with the club were a bit annoyed because he wasn’t the nominated taker but we got the points on Saturday and he’s been a major factor.

“I’m sure he didn’t enjoy his Saturday night after the Bournemouth game but I really hope he enjoyed his Saturday night this time.

“The suspension is an unlucky thing to happen but the boys have covered for it before.”