Crystal Palace pulled off one of the biggest cup shocks in the past few years as they knocked Manchester United out of the Carling Cup with a 2-1 win at Old Trafford.
As expected Ferguson made wholesale changes for the game but they didn’t pay off as Championship side Palace shocked the Premier League champions. United dominated much of the play but couldn’t break down a resilient Palace defence. In fact it was the visitors that had some of the brightest moments in a dull first half. Wilfred Zaha caused United’s defence problems all evening and had a strong penalty shout when he was hauled down by Fabio but Chris Foy waved away the appeals.
Fabio then went off injured and his withdrawal was closely followed by Dimitar Berbatov being replaced at the break. He did injure his ankle in the first period but to what extent it is not known. The lively Ravel Morrison came on as United turned up the heat after the break but couldn’t break the deadlock. Antonio Valencia should have put them 1-0 up when he pounced on a Antony Gardner mistake but the winger couldn’t fire past the Palace ‘keeper.
Against the run of play though Palace took the lead through a breath-taking strike from former Addick Darren Ambrose who came after the interval. His powerful 35 yard strike gave Ben Amos not chance as it rocketed into the top corner. Old Trafford was stunned by just 3 minutes later United were level. Macheda and Biram Diouf linked up well before Paddy McCarthy dragged down Macheda in the box and referee Foy rightly pointed to the spot. The young Italian stepped up and sent Lewis Price the right way.
Both sides could have nicked a winner in the time remaining but the game went into extra time. It seemed as if the home side would go onto win it as Darron Gibson twice went close with long range efforts but it was that man Zaha who won a free kick in a dangerous position which Darren Ambrose whipped in for sub Glenn Murray headed home from a few yards.
United were left with twenty minutes or so to bring the tie to penalties but for the second game running at home at late United onslaught didn’t pay dividends and somehow Dougie Freeman’s men held on for a famous win.
Man United: Amos, Rafael, Evans, Smalling, Fabio, Valencia, Gibson, Park, Diouf, Berbatov, Macheda.
Crystal Palace: Price, Clyne, Wright, McCarthy, Gardner, Dikgacoi, Scannell, Zaha, Easter, Moxey, O’Keefe