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Crystal Palace’s Zaha is first Premier League player not to take a knee

Luka Milivojevic's penalty was enough to see off West Brom, bumping Crystal Palace eight points clear of the drop zone and leaving the Baggies eight points adrift from safety with just nine games left to play.

Wilfried Zaha became the first Premier League player not to “take the knee” against racial intolerance prior to a Premier League game before Crystal Palace beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 on Saturday.

The gesture was not a surprise coming from the Ivorian, who said publicly that he did not believe the pregame ritual was making a change.

[ MORE: Three things from Palace - West Brom ]

Zaha, whose shot won the penalty that decided the game, stood with his hands folded behind his back as 21 other players knelt.

Palace captain Luka Milivojevic praised Zaha for “going further.”

“I support him 100%,” said Milivojevic. “We are taking a knee to show an example so, when kids see, they are asking why are players doing that. Wilfried is going further, he did it the other way, and I respect him 100%.”

His boss, Roy Hodgson, is also on board with his forward.

“I read his statement, very well put together and articulate. It’s what we’re all trying to get across,” Hodgson said, via Football.London. “Wilf’s not alone in thinking taking the knee has become a bit of a ritual, and this gives him a chance to make a statement to show how strongly he disapproves of what’s been going on. We’re all behind that. The rest of the players decided to show that we care too by continuing to take the knee.”

For his part, Zaha felt he’d said enough before the game.

Follow @NicholasMendola