Golden Eagles: Palace stun lacklustre United

Freedman’s side 180 minutes from Wembley thanks to Murray magic

MAN UNITED 1 vs CRYSTAL PALACE 2

CRYSTAL PALACE manager Dougie Freedman hailed one of the greatest nights in the club’s history after an extra-time header from Glenn Murray secured the Eagles’ first win at Old Trafford since 1989.

Sir Alex Ferguson rested the majority of his first team, but still would have expected a side featuring nine full internationals to have upheld United’s proud recent record in the Carling Cup.

That said, the combined powers of Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar would have been unable to prevent Darren Ambrose’s 35-yard strike locating the top corner of Ben Amos’s net in the 65th minute.

United hit back three minutes later when Federico Macheda won and then converted a penalty, but Murray’s close-range header eight minutes into extra time proved decisive and provided former Palace striker Freedman with the highlight of his fledgling managerial career.

“It’s a wonderful night for the club, especially given the position we’ve been in the last few years,” he said. “To play at Old Trafford tonight, we’re privileged, the lads learnt a lot from tonight. I think we deserved it. We played some stuff, some good football.

“We thought if we came with a gameplan that could be stuck to and everybody played eight, nine, 10 out of 10 we could do it.”

Palace, whose precocious forward Wilfried Zaha was unlucky not to see at least one of two first half penalty appeals go his way, went ahead against the run of play when United backed off Ambrose and the former Charlton midfielder accepted the invitation to shoot with relish.

The lead lasted just over three minutes, however, when Paddy McCarthy offered Macheda an incentive to hit the deck – the striker duly obliged and stroked home from the spot.

The goal hardly signalled a United onslaught, however, and it was no real surprise when Murray stooped to head Palace into the last four.

CARLING CUP | SEMI-FINAL DRAW

Manchester City v Liverpool

Crystal Palace v Cardiff

*First legs to be played on w/c 9 Jan

*Second legs to be played on w/c 23 Jan

MATCH ANALYSIS
BY JAMES GOLDMAN

KEY MOMENT
Gary Neville described Darren Ambrose’s 35-yarder as the best goal he’d ever seen from a visiting player at Old Trafford. Quite a claim, but it certainly changed the complexion of the match.

DUGOUT VIEW
My apologies are for the fans because that was not a Manchester United performance.
We had nine internationals there.

Man Utd boss, Sir Alex Ferguson

TALKING POINT
For all the young talent United had out on show, none looked fit to lace to the boots of Palace forward Wilfried Zaha. The 19-year-old will doubtless attract interest in the January transfer window.