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Mighty Eagles crush Liverpool

January 10 2001

Andrejs Rubins

Andrejs Rubins

Crystal Palace beat Liverpool 2-1 in the first leg of the Worthington Cup semi-final at Selhurst Park.

Andrejs Rubins put the Eagles 1-0 up with a cracking shot before Clinton Morrison scored the second. Minutes later, Smicer pulled one back for Liverpool.

Once again Crystal Palace beat Premiership oppotition in the Worthington Cup, although it didn't look like that at the start of the match.

The Eagles did not have a good start, allowing Liverpool two big chances. First Emile Heskey passed to Michael Owen, who blasted over from close range and then Heskey himself fired over the bar with just goalkeeper Alex Kolinko to beat.

Then it was Palace's turn, who gained some confidence out of Liverpool's poor finishing. Reds keeper Sander Westerveld had to come into action with a fingertip save to deny Clinton Morrison and from the resulting corner he somehow maneged to save a point-blank shot by Mikael Forssell.

The second half started well again for Liverpool with Owen having the biggest chance again. He came one-on-one with the Palace 'keeper, but Kolinko did well and deflected the ball with his head.

It was in the 55th minute when Palace took the lead through a magnificent goal by Rubins. The Latvian received the ball from Simon Rodger and fired it from 25-yards past Westerveld into the Liverpool net.

Liverpool boss Houllier then reacted by replacing Owen and midfielder Murphy with Jari Litmanen, making his debut, and Vladimir Smicer.

It did not help Houllier's side much and instead it was Palace who doubled the lead after 76 minutes. It was Forssell who knocked down a Craig Harrison cross to allow Morrison to score a deserved second goal for The Eagles.

A minute later however, Liverpool pulled one back through substitute Smicer, who tapped in a Litmanen cross.

It was a lifeline for The Reds but nothing more than that. Palace held on to the lead and made their fans feel "Glad All Over" after 90 minutes.

Palace travel to Anfield with a 2-1 lead for the second leg on Wednesday, January 24.

Palace: Kolinko, Austin, Harrison, Fan Zhiyi, Rubins, Rodger, Smith, Thomson, Morrison, Mullins, Forssell

Subs not used: Gregg, Gray, Carlisle, Frampton, Pollock

Liverpool: Westerveld, Henchoz, Hyypia, Carragher, Biscan, Babbel, Gerrard, Murphy (Litmanen, 64), Barmby (Hamann, 77 ), Heskey, Owen (Smicer, 64)

Subs not used: Nielsen, McAllister.

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