Soccer-Relegation-threatened West Brom lose 1-0 to Palace

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(Reuters) - Premier League strugglers West Bromwich Albion's hopes of getting out of the relegation zone suffered a blow on Saturday when they lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace after a first-half penalty by Luka Milivojevic.

The Palace captain found the bottom-right corner from the spot in the 37th minute after West Brom defender Darnell Furlong was penalised for a handball inside the penalty area.

Palace forward Wilfried Zaha's cross hit Furlong on the arm, prompting a VAR check.

Zaha, who made his first start since picking up a hamstring injury last month, became the first Premier League player not to take a knee in protest against racial discrimination when he stayed standing with his hands behind his back before kickoff.

Palace manager Roy Hodgson said the Ivory Coast international made a "strong statement" with his gesture.

"He doesn't think the things we are doing are having the same impact as they were at the beginning," Hodgson said. "If anyone doubts Wilfried's commitment to the cause of anti-racism then I can assure them they have no reason to do so."

West Brom created several chances, with midfielders Conor Gallagher and Matheus Pereira going close to scoring, but they were unable to find the net as Palace registered their first-ever top-flight double over the Baggies.

West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone was frustrated by the defeat but said they were determined to turn their fortunes around.

"It's frustrating because we can't seem to get a win," Johnstone told Sky Sports. "There's nine games left and we have a large break now. We will stick together and anything can happen in football."

The win lifted Palace two places to 11th on 37 points after 29 games, while second-bottom West Brom remain eight adrift of the safety zone on 18 points with nine games left to play.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Toby Davis)