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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
22:36 24th January 2012

Cardiff 1 Crystal Palace 0 (Agg 1-1aet

Crystal Palace made their fourth appearance in the semi final stage of the League Cup and entered this second leg tie with one goal and a clean sheet in their favour. Dougie Freedman made one change from the first leg as Nathaniel Clyne returned after illness and the home side took the field without ex Eagle Mark Hudson, he missed out through injury. A near capacity crowd welcomed the two teams onto the pitch and that included 3,500 who had travelled across from south London. Malky Mackay's side got off to the perfect start and the tie was soon back on level terms as early as the seventh minute. A Don Cowie cross was headed into his own net by defender Anthony Gardner and the one goal advantage was soon wiped out. Referee Howard Webb showed the first yellow card of the evening two minutes after the goal to Palace right back Clyne after he conceded a free kick for a foul on Craig Conway. After a bright start from the Bluebirds the visitors started to get into the game and won their first corner that was taken by Darren Ambrose but cleared by Anthony Gerrard and then at the other end Kenny Miller got on the end of a cross from Darcy Blake but Speroni saved comfortably. Just past the hour mark saw a free kick awarded in a good position as Cowie gave away a free kick for a challenge on Wilfried Zaha. The cross from Ambrose was pushed away by goalkeeper  Tom Heaton. Webb levelled up the card count on 38 minutes when Blake went into his book for a foul on the lively Zaha. Six minutes before the break a ball forward ended up in the path of Miller and he placed his shot as Speroni came out to meet him and the effort went just wide of the right hand post as it went across goal. In added time of the half the ball was crossed by Craig Conway which was cleared by Patrick McCarthy but that fell to Miller and his shot on the turn hit the post. That was the last action of the first forty five and as the teams went in for the break it was all square in the tie. The first chance of the second period saw Nathaniel Clyne's cross cleared by Gerrard for a corner that was taken right-footed by Ambrose to the near post, Paddy McCarthy met the cross but the header didn't trouble Heaton. On 55 minutes Palace conceded a free kick just outside their box following a foul by McCarthy on Miller, that earned a yellow card for the Palace captain. Whittingham's resulting free-kick was tipped over the bar by Speroni. The first change came from the bench by Palace as Sean Scannell came on to replace Chris Martin. He nearly had an immediate impact as he played in Zaha but his shot went wide of the target with the striker off balance as he got his effort in. The night got worse for the visitors as McCarthy was shown a second yellow for a foul on Miller with 13 minutes remaining. Reduced to ten men Freedman brought on Paul McShane for Ambrose. Eight minutes left on the clock signalled another change from the bench as Jermaine Easter replaced Murray with the final substitution being made by the visitors. A tremendous block by Zaha in the final minutes of normal time denied Cowie as he was on the right side of the box with a good opportunity to shoot at goal. Last ditch never say die defending from the youngster. That was the last chance of a tense 180 minutes and the tie entered extra time. Four minutes into added time and a cross by Andrew Taylor was picked up by Cowie whose shot from inside the box went over the bar without troubling Speroni. Just past the 100 minute mark and a cross by Miller was met by Kiss who produced a header from inside the area that also went over the bar. The final action of the first period of added saw Speroni saving from substitute Rudy Gestede and then a quick turnaround before the final 15 minutes started. On 109 minutes Aron Gunnarsson's cross found substitute Filip Kiss and his shot struck the woodwork and over the bar. The home side kept piling the pressure on as Gardner cleared a Conway shot and Speroni saved low down from the same player as the minutes ticked away on Webb's watch. In the dying seconds of added time Gunnarsson's header struck the cross bar which meant game over and into a penalty shoot out to decide who went to the final. The shoot out was such a disappointment for Palace with only Mile Jedinak hitting the target and it was Cardiff taking the shoot out  by 3-1 and the Eagles brave ten man effort was just not quite enough and their Carling Cup run came to an end. Teams: Cardiff: Heaton, Blake (McNaughton 80), Gerrard, Turner, Taylor, Cowie (Gestede 102), Whittingham, Gunnarsson, McPhail (Kiss 83), Conway, Miller. Subs Not Used: Marshall, Earnshaw, Mason, Ralls. Booked: Blake, Gunnarsson. Crystal Palace: Speroni, Parr, McCarthy, Gardner, Clyne, Ambrose (McShane 79), Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Zaha, Murray (Easter 83), Martin (Scannell 75). Subs Not Used: Price, Wright, Garvan, Andrew. Sent Off: McCarthy (78). Booked: Clyne, McCarthy. Att: 25, 652  Referee: Howard Webb. 
    Data provided by Press Association