Huddersfield Town made a dream start to their debut season in the Premier League as new Crystal Palace boss Frank de Boer endured a miserable first game.
The Terriers, playing in the English top flight for the first time since 1972, led when Mathias Jorgensen’s header flew in off Palace’s Joel Ward.
Backed by almost 3,000 away fans, the Yorkshire side doubled their advantage when Steve Mounie powerfully nodded in.
Palace’s Scott Dann blazed over, just before Mounie cracked in the third.
And the impressive victory against a poor Palace side puts the Terriers on top of the fledgling table after their opening game.
David Wagner’s side celebrated their first Premier League win with joyous celebrations, the players standing in a line and linking arms in front of their travelling supporters, who cheered loudly every time their heroes raised their hands in the air.
A day to remember for Huddersfield
Huddersfield upset the odds to reach the Premier League last season, combining indomitable team spirit and an aggressive pressing game to go up through the play-offs.
The Terriers have been tipped by many to go straight back down to the Championship, like the three previous play-off winners before them.
Of the starting XI which started at Selhurst Park, only one player – former Palace loanee Tom Ince – had previous Premier League experience, but they were not overawed by the one of the biggest occasions in Town’s recent history.
Whatever happens over the course of the rest of this season, this will be a day that Terriers fans remember for the rest of their lives.
German boss Wagner, the close friend of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp who masterminded promotion in his debut season in English football, instructed his side to be aggressive against Palace – and it worked.
Ince should have put the visitors ahead even before Ward bundled into his own net when Jorgensen beat a static Palace defence to Aaron Mooy’s deep cross to the far post.
Mooy, who made his loan spell from Manchester City permanent after an £8m summer move, also provided Town’s second, Mounie climbing highest to powerfully head into the left corner.
Mounie, 22, eclipsed Mooy as Huddersfield’s record signing when he arrived from French side Montpellier a few days later and showed why the West Yorkshire club were willing to pay £12m for him.
The Benin international impressed with his tireless workrate in the lone striker’s role, but showed he has plenty of ability as well as desire with another clinical finish to seal victory.
However, he was denied a hat-trick when Palace debutant Timothy Fosu-Mensah’s superb sliding tackle stopped him going clean through.
“A debut like this, scoring two goals and winning in our first Premier League game is amazing,” he said.
A day to forget for Palace and De Boer
While it was a memorable Premier League debut for Huddersfield and their boss Wagner, Palace and De Boer will hoping to quickly move on from this one.
De Boer, who has previously managed Ajax and Inter Milan, arrived in the summer to replace Sam Allardyce, who left after helping Palace avoid relegation last season.
The 47-year-old Dutchman has promised a more possession-based, high-pressing game at Selhurst Park – like the one he played at Ajax and Barcelona under the tutelage of compatriot Louis van Gaal.
But first he must address the defensive vulnerability which his side showed throughout.
De Boer is a firm advocate of playing three centre-backs, but he will be concerned about the ease with which his defence was easily bypassed by quick balls into the area.
There were signs of attacking promise after the break and if centre-back Dann, who scored four goals last season, had buried a loose ball in the box rather than firing over then the outcome might have been different.
Instead, Huddersfield scored seconds later as Palace failed to deal with another positive ball forward.
“Tactically, we did not do what we spoke about and paid an expensive price,” said former Netherlands defender De Boer, whose side were booed off at half-time.
“We were not pressing up top and they were allowed to get crosses too. We did not make the right choices and got punished.”
Man of the match – Steve Mounie (Huddersfield Town)
Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer:
“If you analyse the game, it is quite simple. We started well but after 10 minutes the game changed. We were close to making it 2-1 and if we did, I had a feeling we would get a point.
“You cannot go suddenly from one to 10, you have to do it step-by-step. We showed some good football but a game does not last 75 minutes, you have to concentrate for 95 minutes.
“Huddersfield did a fantastic job and compliments to them. They played how they always do, but if you lose 3-0, they deserve it.”
Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner:
“We came into the game quite well. Tom Ince missed a chance but we were clinical and had the right fight, attitude and togetherness. The result does not show how the game was because Palace had their chances too.
“Steve Mounie missed a big chance, we spoke about this rather than the two goals. He played well, coming into the Premier League with two goals, there is no better day for him.”
Palace’s opening-day woes continue….
- Palace have won only one of their last six opening day matches in the Premier League, losing four of the last five
- Huddersfield are the first team to win on their Premier League debut since Blackpool in August 2010
- The Terriers are just the fifth newly-promoted side to win on the opening day of the Premier League since 2008-09, after West Ham (2012), Blackpool (2010) and Hull (2008 and 2016)
- Frank de Boer has enjoyed just one win in his last eight league games as a manager
- Only one of the eight Dutchmen to manage in the Premier League has won in their first game in the competition – Guus Hiddink
- Huddersfield are the first side to see their first Premier League goal come through an own-goal
Another huge occasion for Huddersfield when they host their first Premier League game. Newcastle United, one of the other newly promoted sides, visit the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday, 20 August (13:30 BST).
Palace hope to bounce back when they travel to Liverpool on Saturday (15:00).
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