Palace chairman Parish says Wilfried Zaha did NOT dive against Manchester City

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has come to the defence of Wilfried Zaha after the player came in for criticism after being awarded a penalty in Sunday's goalless draw against Manchester City.

In the closing exchanges against the Premier League leaders, the 25-year-old created a golden chance for Andros Townsend before being brought down by Raheem Sterling in stoppage time.

Referee Jonathan Moss pointed to the penalty spot but Zaha has been criticised by some for going down under pressure.

However, Parish sees the incident differently, and told the Daily Mail: "There's an agenda against Wilfried Zaha. I don't know why or where it comes from, but it is outrageous to accuse him of being a diver. It's total nonsense."

Luka Milivojevic unconvincingly struck the spot-kick down the centre of Ederson's goal, leaving the Brazilian with a comfortable save and ensuring that - even though City's 18-match winning run came to an end - their unbeaten league stretch continued.

Zaha in action yesterdya. Picture: PA

Jamie Redknapp, Graham Poll, Martin Keown and Chris Sutton were amongst those saying Zaha went to ground too easily, but the winger has escaped a Football Association ban.

Parish added: "I'm not sure some of the pundits pointing the finger at Wilf even know the rules. What are they watching?

"The penalty we were awarded against Manchester City on Sunday was nailed on. Wilf can't carry on running. He can't stay up. He's in front of Sterling who pulls his arm and falls on him. Look at the picture. How is that not a penalty?

"It's nonsense to claim he dived. If he could have stayed on his feet, he would have done. Trust me, Wilf is a genuine kid, a genuine player who just loves to play. He is an extraordinary talent.

"He's quick, talented and difficult to stop. But some pundits are determined to cause Wilf problems - maybe Palace, too - and they are costing us penalties.

"No one can say Wilf is a cheat. The reality is he's fouled all the time but he doesn't get 50 per cent of the decisions. It beggars belief that I even have to defend him against these claims.

"I'm not calling for him to be protected, I just want him to receive the same treatment as every other player."

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