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 By PA Sport

Roy Hodgson defends Wilfried Zaha against accusations of diving

English Premier League: Christian Benteke (90'+3) Crystal Palace 2-2 Bournemouth

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson said Wilfried Zaha was no cheat after the winger won two penalties in the 2-2 draw with Bournemouth at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Luka Milivojevic converted the first spot-kick after Zaha drew minimal contact from Cherries goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, but Christian Benteke missed the second in added time after Charlie Daniels was adjudged to have fouled Zaha.

Hodgson, whose side slipped back to the foot of the table, defended Zaha against claims he had conned referee Kevin Friend for at least one, if not both, of the penalties.

"He doesn't dive, that's the simple fact of the matter,'' the manager said.

"Apart from the two penalties awarded there were at least half a dozen other occasions where, if you look at it with a fine-toothed comb, like everyone seems to want to do, there could have been more penalties.

"He doesn't dive, so that doesn't bother me.

"We haven't had an awful lot of luck with refereeing decisions at home. And if you really want to talk about refereeing decisions I suggest you look at the first Jermain Defoe goal, where their player has two arms around our defender, stopping him moving.''

Meanwhile, Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe said his club would "await feedback" after complaining to the match officials about both penalties.

Everton forward Oumar Niasse became the first Premier League player to be punished for the offence of "successful deception of a match official" during a match against Palace last month and was banned for two games.

Howe said: "I haven't seen them [the incidents] again. The second one definitely our players feel is not a penalty -- our players feel Charlie has got the ball.

"So that really hurts. We would have lost the game but for a great save from our goalkeeper. The first one wasn't clear-cut either."

Hodgson acknowledged that Benteke's late miss could be crucial in the long run, saying: "If in May we get relegated and two points would have kept us up, I'll say maybe these two points are the ones that cost us.

"But we can't use the fact he wanted to get off the mark for the season as an excuse."

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