The arrival of Zaha off the bench made Palace the more likely to secure the victory and ultimately it was his pace and enterprise down the left that teed up Puncheon to drive home the winner.
"He was brilliant - probably man of the match in the 20 minutes that he played," said Puncheon. "He is a tremendous talent and people forget he is still young and he is still learning. But he is a great player when he plays like that.
"I try to look after him and give him some advice because he is only a young lad. But this performance typifies what he is capable of when he is at it. That will do him a lot of good."
Zaha's confidence had perhaps taken a knock when his return to Selhurst Park as a loaned Manchester United player failed to match the performances he produced here to earn him his move in the first place.
But Puncheon believes that Palace, rather than United, is the best place to rebuild that self-belief.
"A lot has happened to him," added Puncheon. "But he is happy here and I think he has a manager who wants to help him.
"What people don't realise about Wilf is that he wants to learn.
"I remember when I was on 22. You're still trying to find out what it's all about."
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