It was heartbreak again for Crystal Palace in the FA Cup Final as 10-man Manchester United came from behind to win 2-1 after extra time thanks to substitute Jesse Lingard’s winner in the second half of the additional period.
The final whistle saw the Palace players fall to the ground in emotional and physical exhaustion after giving it their all over 120 minutes as Alan Pardew suffered an FA Cup Final loss for the third time.
Much had been said before the match about the similarities between this and the Eagles only previous appearance in the final, back in 1990 against Manchester United and it was brought to 2016 with Steve Coppell and Sir Alex Ferguson, managers of both teams 26 years ago bringing the famous old trophy onto the pitch for the opening ceremony.
After Prince William was introduced to the teams and then the traditional Abide With Me and national anthem were sung heartily by all those inside.
Pardew has made six changes to the starting eleven who faced Southampton in their final league game last weekend.
Julian Speroni, Adrian Mariappa, Jason Puncheon, Dwight Gayle and Emmanuel Adebayor all drop to the bench with Wayne Hennessey, Yohan Cabaye, Wilfried Zaha, Yannick Bolasie and Conor Wickham come back into the squad and start with Scott Dann promoted back to the first XI after being on the bench on the south coast. Jordon Mutch, who started against Saints, was left out of the squad.
Mile Jedinak, ahead of linking up with Australia next week as they prepare to face England, will have the honour of captaining the Eagles in just their second-ever FA Cup Final appearance.
With Selhurst Park’s own PA, Mike Rankine whipping up the boisterous Palace fans and the Doc Brown ‘Glad All Over Again’ playing loudly, the neutrals watching were left in no doubt who the winners of the fans were and the special double-display from the Holmesdale Fanatics was an impressive statement.
Palace certainly turned up to win with Yannick Bolaise forcing David de Gea, in the United goal, to gather on his line from a Yohan Cabaye corner in the fourth minute. A minute later Wayne Hennessey had an early chance to settle any cup final nerves, gathering a deflection from United’s first corner.
The first 15 minutes saw Palace weather a dominant Manchester storm as the Reds already had corner number three by the seventh minute.
Louis van Gaal’s side were finding a way in-behind the Palace defence on the left as the dangerous Marcus Rashford and Antonio Valencia gave Pape Souare and Yannick Bolasie a torrid time. After 10 minutes Rashford got through on goal but a last-gasp covering tackle from Souare deflected the ball off for a corner.
Palace’s first real chance came in the 17th minute and it should have been a goal, as a cultured pass from Damien Delaney in the middle of the park played in Wickham who referee Mark Clattenburg thought had been fouled by Chris Smalling, but the big forward got up, rounded Daley Blind and easily slotted past a prone de Gea in the United goal.
However, Clattenburg had belatedly blown for Smalling’s alleged infringement, showing him a yellow card, and the play was called back, much to the disbelief of Alan Pardew and the Palace fans.
Palace responded immediately to their disappointment as from the resulting Cabaye free-kick, a Bolasie header was tipped over by de Gea.
Juan Mata was causing further problems for the Palace defence as again he sneaked into the box and despite a saving tackle from Bolasie, the resulting loose ball flicked up onto Souare and Hennessey had to make a save.
The Eagles were slowly coming into the game and with Mile Jedinak keeping the dangerous Fellaini at bay they gradually ventured up the field.
Wilfried Zaha, playing against his only former club, turned Anthony Martial on the half-way line and was nearly away but was pulled back and given a talking to by Clattenburg.
United again came close, in the 33rd minute, as Rashford picked out Martial, but his goalwards shot was blocked by Joel Ward.
Zaha, again got free of the last United man as he dispossessed Blind at left-back, but could not quite upright to pull the trigger and a saving tackle from Wayne Rooney saved the day.
Just before the half-time break again Clattenburg called the play back instead of allowing advantage as Souare got free of Mata in United territory, but the attack was stopped and the Spanish player was booked.
Shooting towards the Palace end in the second half, Bolasie was quickly in amongst the chances after two long throws from Conor Wickham in the 49th minute but as he went to shoot, he slipped.
United then came the closest they could as a Rashford flick found Fellaini on the edge of the box and his first-time shot beat Hennessey, but hit the post and rebounded back into play in the 53rd minute.
It was then Palace’s chance to come close as three minutes later Jedinak found himself at the back from a Cabaye free-kick but he could not compose himself quick enough and shot over.
A Delaney tackle on Rojo caused the Argentinean to be replaced by Matteo Darmian and then Rashford was forced off the field due to injury after accidently colliding with a Palace player. He was replaced by Ashley Young in the 72nd minute.
Pardew also brought on his first sub, as Cabaye was replaced by Jason Puncheon and the impact was near immediate as just seven minutes after his introduction a Palace corner was cleared by United and then hooked back into the area.
Puncheon found himself in space and onside and he wasted no time in smashing the ball into the net to make it 1-0.
But it was to be short-lived for Palace as just under 120 seconds later, Rooney was allowed too much space in the Palace half and after playing it into Fellaini in the Palace box, the big Belgian chested it to Mata whose powerful shot could not be stopped by Ward on the Palace line as the game was all-even at 1-1.
Connor Wickham was replaced by Dwight Gayle and Scott Dann, injured after a Palace attacking corner was replaced by Adrian Mariappa for a rare appearance.
Just three minutes from the end of normal time, Zaha could not connect with a Souare cross and the Palace faithful crossed their fingers for extra time.
As the clock hit 90, Lingard came on for Mata as the teams played out the five minutes additional time.
After a short break to gather liquids and nerves Zaha found himself through on goal from a Bolasie flick, but the United defence crowded him out.
Lindgard came close then Fellaini was shown a yellow card for a foul on Jedinak in the 101st minute.
Both teams were physically exhausted and you could be forgiven for thinking that they would both take extra time if it was offered to them.
The resulting free-kick from Fellaini’s foul saw de Gea again deny Palace, and Bolasie, as the Spanish shot-stopper push away the DR Congo winger’s low shot.
As the first half of additional time came to an end, Smalling was shown a second yellow card and subsequent red as he rugby-tackled Bolasie on the half-way line as the forward threatened to get away.
Kicking towards the CPFC faithful again, Palace dared to dream again of FA Cup glory, and when Gayle was played through by Zaha in the 107th minute, his toe poke was not good enough to beat de Gea who saved again. The Palace forward turned away in disappointment as what was to be his sides’ last chance of the game.
With just 10 minutes of the match remaining, Lingard scored with an expert half-volley after Delaney had cleared the ball partially from a dangerous United cross.
The team from the red side of Manchester had defeated Palace again in the FA Cup and despite some half chances and shots flashed wide in the final moments, the Eagles could not put to bed the memories of 1990.
The FA Cup run has been an emotional roller-coaster for all involved and at the final whistle; Wembley was ringing out to the red and blue half of the stadium who look forward to making it third-time lucky.
Crystal Palace: 13 Wayne Hennessey; 2 Joel Ward, 6 Scott Dann, 27 Damien Delaney, 23 Pape Souare; 15 Mile Jedinak (captain) 18 James McArthur; 11 Wilfried Zaha, 7 Yohan Cabaye, 10 Yannick Bolasie; 21 Connor Wickham.
Substitutes: 42 Jason Puncheon for Cabaye 72, 16 Dwight Gayle for Wickham 86, 3 Adrian Mariappa for Dann 90.
Substitutes not used: 1 Julian Speroni, 25 Emmanuel Adebayor, 26 Bakary Sako, 34 Martin Kelly.
Manchester United: 1 David de Gea; 25 Antonio Valencia, 12 Chris Smalling, 17 Daley Blind, 5 Marcos Rojo; 16 Michael Carrick; 8 Juan Mata, 27 Marouane Fellaini, 10 Wayne Rooney (captain), 9 Anthony Martial; 39 Marcus Rashford.
Substitutes: 36 Matteo Darmian for Rojo 66, 18 Ashley Young for Rashford 72, 35 Jesse Lingard for Mata 90.
Substitutes not used: 20 Sergio Romero, 4 Phil Jones, 21 Ander Herrera, 28 Morgan Schneiderlin.