Rondon header hands Albion dream start on opening day
- Rondon glances home McClean's set-piece (74)
- Foster denies Zaha when clean through
- Club's first opening-day triumph since 2012
- Albion Star Man: Salomon Rondon
- Attendance: 24,490
SALOMON Rondon's header ensured Albion got their 2016/17 Premier League campaign off to a winning start at Crystal Palace.
The Venezuela international, Albion's new No.9, flicked home substitute James McClean's inswinging free-kick in the 74th minute to hand the Baggies a 1-0 victory and a dream start to the season.
It proved enough to secure the Club's first opening-day triumph since beating Liverpool 3-0 in 2012.
Rondon had earlier enjoyed the best chance of the first period on a sunny August afternoon in south London but his header was palmed away low down by Wayne Hennessey.
Saido Berahino and Connor Wickham spurned further half-chances before the Baggies were indebted to Ben Foster for keeping the scores level after the restart.
The goalkeeper saved superbly from Zaha, who raced clean through, before getting up quickly to help Craig Dawson keep out the rebound.
Palace threatened through Jason Puncheon and Andros Townsend before Matt Phillips went close at the other end as the Baggies opened their season with three impressive points.
Albion: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Evans; Gardner (McClean 71), Fletcher (c), Yacob, Phillips; Rondon, Berahino (Morrison 86).
Subs: Myhill; Lambert, Leko, Field, Wilson.
Booked: Dawson (foul, 35), Evans (foul, 84)
Palace: Hennessey; Ward, Dann (c), Delaney, Square (Kelly 90+3); Jedinak, Puncheon (Cabaye 77); Zaha, Lee (Bolasie 66), Townsend; Wickham.
Subs: Speroni, Ledley, Ladapo, Anderson.
Booked: Zaha (dissent, 84), Bolasie (dangerous play, 87)
Referee: Craig Pawson (Yorkshire)