Resolute Bristol City pummel woeful Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace’s woes grew even deeper as they succumbed to a 4-1 defeat to Championship side Bristol City.
Despite their plight of eight defeats in nine league games, Palace had a strong start, with Bakary Sako putting the Eagles ahead after some wonderful play with Sullay Kaikai and Reuben Loftus Cheek.
However, Palace soon showed why they are where they are after an awful error from Patrick Van Aanholt handed the ball straight to Matty Taylor, who made no mistake in front of goal.
The Robins then took the lead five minutes later as substitute Milan Djuric scored from Hordur Magnusson’s long throw after more poor defending from Palace.
They had to whether some Palace pressure at the start of the second half, but City remained resolute. In the 60th minute, they were rewarded as Joe Bryan curled in a beautiful shot from just outside the box.
Five minutes later they put the game to bed as Callum O’Dowda pounced on yet another Palace mistake and blasted another wonderful strike past Wayne Hennessey. Their win marks City’s first League Cup quarter-final since 1989.
A convincing win despite a shaky start
Bristol City had already seen off two Premier League sides, beating Watford and Stoke City in the previous rounds. However, it looked like the third time would not be the charm for the West Country side as Palace ran rings around them for the first half an hour.
They also had an injury to record signing Famara Diedhiou, who came off in the 31st minute for goalscorer Djuric. The Senegalese striker has six goals in his first 13 appearances. Bristol City will be hoping that his injury is not too serious.
Despite the early setbacks, however, they defended solidly, with goalkeeper Luke Steele in especially good form, making some crucial from saves early on in the game.
They also deserve credit for playing patiently, gradually stretching Palace’s defenses as they desperately tried to claw back the lead.
But the biggest highlights for the Robins by far were their last two goals. Joe Bryan’s shot from the edge of the area could not have been hit any better and Callum O’Dowda’s volley was equally impressive, despite taking a bounce on the way in.
Tonight’s performance was the perfect response for City after their 3-0 thrashing from Leeds on Saturday. They can now look forward to the draw for the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Same old story for Palace
It truly does feel like Groundhog day for the Eagles. Yet another promising performance has ultimately been ruined by stupid mistakes.
Palace came out of the blocks right from the whistle, with Sullay Kaikai, Bakary Sako, and Reuben Loftus Cheek, in particular causing all sorts of problems. They played a good passing game and had the Robins on the backfoot for the entire opening 30 minutes.
However, another shocking piece of defending from Van Aanholt gave City the equalizer with their first shot of the game. Five minutes later, Palace threw all their hard work away after failing to clear Magnusson’s throw, letting Djuric slot home. Afterwards, their morale plummeted and they never really looked like getting back into the game.
Wayne Hennessey, as so often it seems, also had a poor evening. Bryan’s goal – while a good strike – went straight through his hands on its way into the net. He also allowed Callum O’Dowda’s strike to wrong-foot him. Jairo Riedewald was also at fault for clearing the ball straight to O’Dowda’s feet.
After their last-minute sickener at Newcastle, this past week really does feel like one step forward and five steps back for Palace after their win over Chelsea the previous week. This has only made next weeks game against relegation rivals West Ham even more crucial. Another loss could seriously see their season spiral out of control.
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