The Eagles partook in the competition last year but their comparatively young squad were unable to defeat any opponents. This afternoon against Excelsior Rotterdam, however, the Eagles enjoyed a comfortable victory that displayed a marked improvement from their performance yesterday.
Later on, the Eagles ensured they would end the day unbeaten as they held Israeli side Hapoel Beer-Sheva to a draw. Read on for both reports.
Crystal Palace 2-0 Excelsior Rotterdam
- The Eagles make a host of changes to the side which kicked-off yesterday
- Palace look bright in tough conditions and take the lead 20 minutes in
- Half-time: Crystal Palace 1-0 Excelsior Rotterdam
- Palace find their second shortly after play resumes via John-Kymani Gordon
- Rotterdam hunt their opening goal, but Palace hold on for the win
- Full-time: Crystal Palace 2-0 Excelsior Rotterdam
On a pitch suffering from driving rain throughout the previous night, Palace and Excelsior Rotterdam battled to stay upright as much as they did with each other in a well fought affair which Paddy McCarthy’s men dominated from kick-off.
The Eagles displayed a promising sign of their attacking talent when Brandon Pierrick tore his way into Rotterdam’s box and laid-off John-Kymani Gordon, who cut the ball to Aidan Steele only for the midfielder to strike too high to make the most of impressive build-up play.
Malachi Boateng wouldn’t make the same mistake a few minutes later, however, when he clinically struck home from the centre of the box on the end of a fine TQ Addy square-ball. Having seemingly upped their game following yesterday’s defeat, Palace earned their just reward.
The Dutch were still in the game though and threatened the south Londoners by forcing Jacob Russell into athletic action to deny Brent Maxim Vughts’ firm shot from 12 yards. Russell found himself leaping swiftly to his left for the second time in two minutes when Dave ven Delft tested the ‘keeper’s reactions.
Rotterdam’s push late in the first-half became something of an onslaught as first David Boateng and then Noah Watson were made to clear the ball from the goal-line but, thankfully, the pair did admirably to maintain Palace’s advantage and the Eagles entered the break in front.
That advantage was soon extended as Palace re-took to the turf bristling similarly to how they were in the first-half. John-Kymani Gordon was able to breathe a sigh of relief as, having rounded the Dutch ‘keeper, he fell into a cluster of defenders and seemed to have lost a fine goalscoring opportunity before clinging on to possession and forcing the ball over the line.
The remainder of the game passed by with little further drama as Rotterdam sought to find a route back, but their efforts were tame and Palace held on to record their first ever victory in the annual tournament.
Palace: Jacob Russell, D.Boateng, Jude Russell, Siddik, Watson, Pierrick, Steele, M.Boateng, Addy (Bello 53), Mooney, Gordon (Street 56).
Subs not used: Whitworth, Wright, Adaramola, Chamberlin-Gayle, Thiselton, Quick, Omilabu, Rak Sakyi, Akinwale.
Rotterdam: Baalen, Van Der Loo (Dijkgraaf 50), Seymor, Den Heeten Van Delt, Baas, Fernandes, Vughts, Stofkooper, Gouda, Rasenberg.
Subs not used: Konings, Luurssen, Van Eijk, Andrade, Urban, Eijgenraam, Rodriques, Buter.
Crystal Palace 1-1 Hapoel Beer-Sheva
- McCarthy rotates his squad
- Hapoel Beer-Sheva take a fortunate lead
- Palace are by far the better side in the first-half but enter the break behind
- Half-time: Crystal Palace 0-1 Hapoel Beer-Sheva
- Jashaun Chamberlin-Gayle pulls Palace level
- Full-time: Crystal Palace 1-1 Hapoel Beer-Sheva
In a game that saw Hapoel Beer-Sheva's well developed 18- and 19-year-olds take on a fairly young starting XI, Palace held their own and were unfortunate to fall behind in the opening 25 minutes. The Israelis bagged against the run of play when one of their quick-thinking strikers dispossessed England Under-16 goalkeeper Joe Whitworth and capitalised on the clear chance to find the net.
Even at a goal down, Palace were by far the dominant side for the game's first half an hour and routinely tested the Hapoel backline. Forward Rob Street came close to finding the Eagles' equaliser only to be denied by goalkeeper Ziv Cohen and then Roi Salem, who got his body between Street and a billowing net impressively.
Despite applying consistent pressure to their Israeli adversary, Palace hadn't found a way to open their account by the sound of the half-time whistle. Quite rightly, this changed when Chamberlin-Gayle turned home in a crowded penalty area as he roamed forward from defence to find his side its equaliser.
Fatigue appeared to roll in as the second-half ticked on, and Palace were unable to maintain their offensive presence. But they sustained their defensive organisation to keep Hapoel at bay and when the Camels did find a way to goal, Whitworth was on hand to save low at his near post and ensure Palace ended the day unbeaten.
Palace: Whitworth, Wright, Chamberlin-Gayle (Watson 54), Thiselton (Mooney 54), Street (Akinwale 57), Quick, Siddik, Bello (Adaramola 57), Steele, Omilabu, Rak Sakyi (Pierrick 54).
Subs not used: Jacob Russell, M.Boateng, Jude Russell, D.Boateng, Gordon, Addy.
Hapoel Be'er Sheva: Z.Cohen, Salem, Alufer, Abed, Avraham, Lavi, Zaid, Maman, Kessler, Malul, Yossef.
Subs: Tazatziashvilli, Hadad, Ivgi, Binyamin, Bitton, Askias, Iluz, Aldada, L.Cohen.
Image credit: Maccabi Tel Aviv Official Website