Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Nick Pope was the man of the moment as Burnley beat Crystal Palace in the Premier League, with both Roy Hodgson and Sean Dyche paying tribute to the Clarets goalkeeper.

It has been a bit of a mixed start to 2020/21 for the England international but, as Burnley secured their first win of the season at the eighth time of asking, they had Pope to thank for a miracle between the sticks.

After all, the former Charlton stopper put his body on the line – quite literally – as the hosts held on for a vital three points at Turf Moor which lifted them out of the relegation zone.

20/21 Premier League Table According To Football Manager 2021

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You will struggle to find a better save all year than the one Pope made to deny the luckless Christian Benteke in the final knockings of a hard-fought 1-0 win.

He might not remember much about his Schmeichel-esque starfish stop, having been poleaxed by Palace’s Belgian battering ram, but even the usually-humble Pope could afford himself a pat on the back when he watches a replay of his early ‘Save of the Season’ contender.

“All defeats are frustrating, especially with the way we went about our game in the second-half which was very much on the front foot, taking game to Burnley,” Palace boss Roy Hodgson said at full-time.

“We created lots of situations in and around their penalty area, but unfortunately, the last pass or shot wasn’t there, and when it was, we found the goalkeeper in excellent form.”  

Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Dyche, understandably, agrees.

“It was a big save right at the end to make sure we got the clean sheet,” said Burnley’s gravel-voiced gaffer. “That’s a fantastic save; throwing yourself in and giving everything for the cause and the team and with a chance of getting hurt.”

Pope also made a fine block to deny Michy Batshuayi after a dreadful Dwight McNeil backpass.

But while he answered Burnley prayers at one end, Chris Wood was the hero at the other, scoring the only goal of the game after just eight minutes following an intelligent Jay Rodriguez flick.

Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

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