Man United 1 Crystal Palace 2: Glenn Murray sends Eagles through

Glenn Murray netted an extra-time winner as Crystal Palace dumped Man United out of the Carling Cup at Old Trafford

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Carling Cup, 30 November 2011, Old Trafford
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Man United
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Crystal Palace

Glenn Murray headed in an extra-time winner as Crystal Palace stunned Manchester United at Old Trafford to reach the Carling Cup semi-finals.

United were punished for an inefficient display and Palace took the lead in the second half courtesy of Darren Ambrose’s magnificent long-range strike.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side responded when Federico Macheda dispatched a 68th-minute penalty to level matters – but Murray netted the winner in the eighth minute of extra-time to dump the Premier League champions out of the competition.

Palace started in positive fashion as they looked to test Ferguson’s understrength side – and the visitors had a penalty claim turned down after 15 minutes.

The Championship side’s highly rated winger Wilfried Zaha raced onto a Palace throw-in, leaving Fabio no option but to haul down the 19-year-old just inside the United area – but referee Chris Foy waved play-on.

United endured a subdued first half and were bereft of creativity with little width, while Darron Gibson struggled to gain a stranglehold on the midfield.

Dougie Freedman’s side looked fearless as Zaha and Sean Scannell both showed unerring confidence, looking to take on United’s full-backs at every available opportunity.

Zaha subjected Fabio to a torrid first half as the Palace youngster twisted and turned past the Brazilian on numerous occasions.

The United defender was eventually spared further torment as he was substituted just before half-time.

After the interval, Ravel Morrison replaced Dimitar Berbatov and the switch injected some urgency into the United side.

The home side cranked up the pressure on their Championship opposition and when Anthony Gardner missed a tackle on Valencia, the United winger sprinted clear but dragged his shot just past the right post.

Moments later, Macheda and Morrison combined and the United substitute created space to shoot inside the Palace area – but Lewis Price saved with his feet.

With United in the ascendency, it was Palace who finally broke the deadlock with an astonishing strike.

Former Newcastle United midfielder Ambrose collected the ball 35 yards from Ben Amos’s goal and unleashed an unstoppable drive into the top corner.

But Freedman’s side retained their lead for all of three minutes as Macheda’s quick turn in the Palace box drew a foul from Patrick McCarthy and Foy pointed to the spot.

United’s Italian striker confidently stroked the ball down the right, sending Price the wrong way.

Both managers made their final substitutions with 10 minutes remaining in an attempt to push for a late winner and it was Palace who came closest when Glen Murray’s shot brushed the side netting.

The first chance in extra-time fell to Gibson, who cut inside and hit a low strike which was deflected just wide.

But Palace reacted and Zaha won a free-kick after a cynical foul by make-shift right-back Ji-Sung Park.

Ambrose whipped in a dangerous set-piece which was met by Murray, who thundered a header past Amos to hand the visitors an unlikely lead.

United responded immediately as Gibson and Macheda came close to equalising before the end of the first period of extra-time.

Desperate for an equaliser, Ferguson’s side poured forward, bombarding the visitors’ area with long diagonal balls – but the visitors withstood the pressure to book their place in the last four.

Manchester United: Ben Amos, Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans, Rafael (Paul Pogba, 64), Fabio (Ezekiel Fryers, 37), Antonio Valencia, Park Ji-Sung, Darron Gibson, Mame Biram Diouf, Federico Macheda, Dimitar Berbatov (Ravel Morrison, 45)

Crystal Palace: Lewis Price, Patrick McCarthy, David Wright, Nathaniel Clyne, Anthony Gardner, Dean Moxey (Darren Ambrose, 45), Kagisho Dikgacoi, Stuart O’Keefe, Jermaine Easter (Glenn Murray, 74), Wilfred Zaha, Sean Scannell (Jonathan Parr, 46)

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