A brace by Fredy Montero clinched the Cape Town Cup for Sporting Lisbon as they beat Palace in the final of the competition.
The Eagles had more than matched their Champions League bound opponents for 70 minutes but the Colombian striker’s introduction turned the game in their favour as he scored a free-kick before completing a late counter-attack to condemn Alan Pardew’s side to defeat.
Just as they had in their 4-0 win against Supersport United 48 hours earlier, the Eagles began brightly and Jordon Mutch forced Rui Patricio into a smart save just two minutes in with an effort from 20 yards out which the Portuguese international pushed around the post.
But Sporting would pose much more of a threat than Friday night’s opponents and only a desperate diving block by Damien Delaney prevented Adrien Silva from opening the scoring after the skipper latched onto a cut back from Islam Slimani 11 minutes in.
On his maiden appearance for the Eagles, Alex McCarthy made his first save when a looped free-kick into the area by Jefferson nearly flew all the way in but the new signing did well to claim it at the last second, and after Sporting were handed an indirect free-kick inside the area Glenn Murray showed great bravery to block a thumping drive from Silva with his face.
Jefferson’s set-pieces continued to cause the Eagles problems and he nearly converted a curled effort from the edge of the box on 37 minutes but McCarthy did well to push the ball over the top, but just before the interval Dwight Gayle attempted to burst into the area and his progressed was blocked by a pair of Lisbon defenders but his penalty appeals were turned down.
Pardew kept the same 11 on the field for the second half and they once again started on the front foot, with Jason Puncheon speeding down the right and shooting straight at Patricio and Joao Mario was lucky not to deflect a Yohan Cabaye free-kick into his own net when the Frenchman teased him into a shaky clearance which fell to his goalkeeper.
But in the 70th minute Sporting took the lead. A tame free-kick was handed to them for an apparent push by Scott Dann and substitute Montero curled it towards goal, and despite getting a hand to it McCarthy couldn’t prevent it clipping the post and creeping over the line.
Now trailing Palace pushed for an equaliser and James McArthur nearly found it when he smashed a free ball towards the target which Patricio did well to push over, and from the resulting corner Damien Delaney headed over.
Patricio showed why he’s an established international for his country when he pulled off a magnificent save to deny Dann who rose highest to head towards goal but the shot-stopper somehow managed to scoop the ball away from the bottom corner.
That stop proved critical as moments later Sporting sealed the victory with four minutes to go. A slip by Joel Ward allowed Slimani to burst towards goal and despite the right-back catching him up and making a block, Montero was on hand to lash the ball past a helpless McCarthy and clinch the trophy for the Portuguese side.
Palace: McCarthy, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, McArthur, Cabaye (Bamford 76) Gayle, Mutch (Jedinak 62), Puncheon (Zaha 76), Murray (Lee 69). Subs not used: Hennessey, Kelly, Hangeland, Scales, Kaikai.
Sporting: Patricio, J Pereira (Ricardo 61), Oliveira (Mallmann 81), Semedo (Joao Mario 37), Naldo, Jefferson, Carillio, Silva (Figueiredo 81), Martins (Mane 46), Gutierrez (Montero 61), Slimani (Diego Capel 90). Subs not used: Ciani, Silva, Marcelo, Rosell, Jug, Tanaka, Medeiros.