Aston Villa recorded their first win in 10 games on Tuesday night as they beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park thanks to Christian Benteke's first-half strike.
Benteke marked his return from a three-match suspension with his first goal of the season just after the half-hour, as he ran half the length of the pitch before shooting past goalkeeper Julian Speroni for what proved to be the winning goal.
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Having made just five first-team appearances since coming back in October from a ruptured Achilles tendon, it was obvious that the imposing Belgian was still not quite up to speed, with a few poor touches on the ball, but all he needed was one game-changing moment to prove his importance to the club.
His impact even moved manager Paul Lambert to declare post-match that his star man can become one of the world’s best strikers, telling Sky Sports News HQ: “It was a great goal.
“I’ve been fortunate to play with some of the best players in the world, striking wise and if he keeps progressing the way he is, hopefully he will hit their heights. He’s a terrific player.
“He scored a fantastic goal and I’m delighted for him."
Asked if his goal was one of the best he’d scored in his career, Benteke himself added: “I think for me any goal is good. I’m just happy with the win.
“To play at Crystal Palace is never easy. There are a lot of teams who come here who don’t get points. We needed to work hard and that’s what we did today.”
Villa have recorded just seven goals, 131 shots and 49 shots on target so far this season – all league-worst figures – but, with Benteke back in the line-up and getting up to full fitness, those numbers should soon rise.