Hull City fans react at the close of the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Hull City at Selhurst Park in south London on May 14, 2017. PHOTO: OLLY GREENWOOD / AFP
Hull City crashed out of the Premier League on Sunday as Crystal Palace secured their own survival with a 4-0 thrashing of their relegation rivals at Selhurst Park.
Marco Silva’s side knew only a victory would give them a realistic chance of staying up, but goals from Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, Luka Milivojevic and Patrick van Aanholt consigned them to the drop.
Third-bottom Hull, winners just once in their last six matches, return to the Championship just 12 months after their promotion via the play-offs.
They paid the price for a chaotic campaign marred by poor signings and boardroom turmoil.
The Tigers will join already relegated Sunderland and Middlesbrough in the second tier next season.
Palace had needed a point to stay up and their dominant display completed boss Sam Allardyce’s latest survival mission after he rescued Sunderland last season.
Swansea City’s win at Sunderland on Saturday had left Hull with no margin for error and Palace’s desire to secure their safety meant the stakes couldn’t have been higher.
In the circumstances, the first goal would be crucial and Hull, who had won only once at Palace in 32 years, were getting a sinking feeling in south London once again after Zaha punished a terrible blunder to open the scoring in the third minute.
When a Palace pass went astray, Andrea Ranocchia had the simple task of hoofing clear, but instead the Hull defender completely missed his kick and Zaha gleefully pounced on the loose ball to slot home.
Hull were rocked by that self-inflicted wound and James Tomkins almost doubled Palace’s lead with a glancing header from Jason Puncheon’s corner.
With just one away league win all season, the odds were heavily stacked against Hull and Alfred N’Diaye couldn’t find a cure for their travel sickness as he blazed well over.
Hull’s fate was sealed in the 34th minute when Benteke barged in front of Harry Maguire to meet Puncheon’s corner with a close-range header that flashed past Eldin Jakupovic.
When Puncheon escaped without conceding a penalty after blocking Kamil Grosicki’s free-kick with his hand, Silva and his players must have realised there would be no great escape.
Silva sent on Shaun Maloney and Jarrod Bowen at half-time, but Hull lacked poise and Palace held them at bay with ease.
Bowen had Hull’s one decent chance to grab a lifeline but he screwed wide from a Sam Clucas cross.
Time was running out for Hull’s condemned men and Milivojevic stroked home an 85th-minute penalty after Michael Dawson’s foul on Jeffery Schlupp.
Van Aanholt delivered the final blow with a close-range finish in the 90th minute.