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October 26 2020 12.52am

Cup final agony for Eagles

May 22 2016

Jason Puncheon

Jason Puncheon

Crystal Palace were defeated 2-1 by Manchester United after extra time in the FA Cup final.

Palace fans will point to some big decisions made by referee Mark Clattenburg that they felt cost them the game.

The first big moment arrived early on when Clattenburg failed to allow Connor Wickham advantage after he broke clear of Chris Smalling following a challenge, and instead gave a free-kick with the striker through on goal. Wickham put the ball in the net and Smalling was booked.

He did it again when Joel Ward bombed forward despite being fouled by Marcos Rojo, but Clattenburg pulled play back for the free-kick.

The Palace players also felt aggrieved to not be given a penalty by Clattenburg when Zaha went down in the box under a challenge of Wayne Rooney.

United carved out the first chance as midfielder Juan Mata drew a brilliant diving save out of Wayne Hennessey after the Spaniard got lucky with a couple of ricochets on the right side of the box.

Marouane Fellaini thumped a shot against Hennessey's upright that rebounded to safety before United hotshot Anthony Martial repeated the trick with a header against the post.

The game sprung into life when Palace scored with just 12 minutes remaining through substitute Jason Puncheon who had only been on the field for six minutes. His corner was cleared by the United defence only as far as Joel Ward, who swung the ball back out to Puncheon on the left and the midfielder smashed home a stunning effort.

United fought back just three minutes later when a marauding Rooney run, where he dissected the Palace midfield, ended with a far-post cross to Fellaini who chested down for Mata to make it 1-1 via a deflection off Ward.

Zaha almost snatched a late winner after beating Smalling but his strike went into the side netting.

Just like the 1990 final, the tie went to extra time. Yannick Bolasie went so close to restoring Palace's advantage with a low, powerful drive that was superbly pushed around the post by David De Gea.

United went down to 10 men in the 105th minute after Smalling rugby tackled Bolasie on the halfway line with Palace on a dangerous counter attack. The defender was branded a second yellow card and was sent to the dressing room.

Sub Dwight Gayle perhaps should have done better when put through by Zaha and prodded his shot straight at De Gea who saved with his legs.

But not for the first time this season, Palace were defeated by 10 men as United struck the winner in the 110th minute. Antonio Valencia's low cross from the right rebounded out to Jesse Lingard just inside the area and he blasted a rocket shot into the top corner to win the trophy for the Red Devils.

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