Crystal Palace team-mates defend Wilfried Zaha amid fresh diving row

Evening Standard

Wilfried Zaha has been defended by his Crystal Palace team-mates after a fresh diving row.

The winger was booked for simulation in the 0-0 draw at Watford on Saturday when he should have been awarded a penalty for a challenge by Adrian Mariappa.

Zaha has been booked four times for diving since the start of the 2015-16 season — more than any other player — and claims there is an agenda against him.

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Before the incident at Vicarage Road, Zaha was accused of diving by Watford players when he went down under pressure from Christian Kabasele.

Zaha’s team-mate Andros Townsend said: “I have never seen him dive. In the second half it looked like a clear penalty.”

James McArthur said: “A lot of people are quite harsh on him and sometimes he does not get decisions from referees. He is not diving, that is the frustrating thing. It is because he is so fast and so agile. I think he has had a reputation with referees for a long time to be honest.”

Palace edged closer to safety with their draw at Watford, which left them six points above the bottom three ahead of Saturday’s game against Leicester at Selhurst Park.

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