Contentious penalty helps Everton to 3rd straight win in EPL

LONDON (AP) — Everton won its third straight match to open the English Premier League by beating Crystal Palace 2-1 thanks to a contentiously awarded penalty converted by Richarlison on Saturday.

Palace right back Joel Ward became the latest player to fall foul of the league’s newly adopted interpretation of defensive handballs, when the ball struck his left arm after being headed on by Lucas Digne.

Because his arm was adjudged to have made his body unnaturally bigger, a penalty was awarded and Richarlison struck his 40th-minute effort into the top corner after a stuttered runup.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin put Everton in the lead in the 10th minute, finishing off a flowing team move involving James Rodriguez and Seamus Coleman to score his fifth goal of the season.

Cheikhou Kouyaté equalized with a header from Andros Townsend’s right-wing corner in the 26th.

Everton has already beaten Tottenham away and West Bromwich Albion at home.

Palace dropped points for the first time after wins against Southampton and Manchester United.

Robin Koch, Victor Lindelof, Matt Doherty and Neal Maupay are others to have given away penalties for defensive handball since the Premier League decided to fall in line with the rest of European soccer and apply the ruling in a stricter way rather than judging it on intent.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson said it is a rule “which I think is killing the game.”

“I do not understand how we have allowed this rule to come into operation,” Hodgson said. “For me, it’s completely unacceptable and I’ve got to be honest with you, it’s certainly destroying my enjoyment of the game of football.”

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