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      Report & Highlights: Heroic Palace U21s claim 23/24 PL International Cup from PSV

      Crystal Palace U21
      Umeh-Chibueze 67'
      PSV Eindhoven U21

      A superb counter-attacking display, capped by Franco Umeh’s deflected effort midway through the second-half, saw Crystal Palace Under-21s take Jong PSV’s Premier League International Cup crown with a 1-0 win in the Final at Selhurst Park.


      • Eagles face Jong PSV at Selhurst Park in repeat of last year’s Final
      • Palace make three changes from defeat to Liverpool in Premier League 2 play-offs
      • Dutch outfit start brightly and test the Eagles’ back line
      • Umeh heads over from Devenny’s corner after 15 minutes
      • Nassoh places wide from good opportunity moments later
      • Ola-Adebomi denied by goal-saving challenge on the half-hour
      • Whitworth denies Abed twice in quick succession
      • ‘Keeper then makes two spectacular saves on the stroke of half-time
      • HT: Palace 0-0 Jong PSV
      • Palace break early in the second-half but Umeh cannot dig out the cross
      • Uneken sidefoots wide from near the penalty spot
      • Deflected Umeh strike gives Eagles the lead midway through second-half
      • Irishman then denied by a robust challenge from Emmanuel Van der Blaak
      • Nassoh’s deflected shot strikes the bar and Kwaaitaal spurns the rebound
      • Devenny pulls wide from Mathurin’s late pull-back
      • Rak-Sakyi curls wide from inside the box
      • Palace weather late aerial siege, defending superbly as a unit
      • FT: Palace 1-0 Jong PSV
      • Palace U21s win the 2023/24 Premier League International Cup!
      Premier League International Cup Final Highlights: Crystal Palace 1-0 PSV Eindhoven

      Having seen off the likes of Athletic Club, Benfica, Feyenoord, Monaco, Wolves and Everton en route to a second successive final, the Young Eagles were out for a taste of revenge following last year’s defeat to the same opposition, which – against the run of play, perhaps – finished 3-1 to Jong PSV after extra-time.

      They were backed by another strong attendance – with over 2,000 tickets sold ahead of kick-off – on a glorious early summer’s eve in SE25.

      After exiting the Premier League 2 play-offs in dramatic fashion to Liverpool earlier this month, Palace were bolstered by Ademola Ola-Adebomi’s presence up front and the return of Jesurun Rak-Sakyi to the starting XI, with the winger having recently netted a PL2 hat-trick against Tottenham.

      Craig Farquhar and Umeh also came back into the side, with Kofi Balmer, Noah Watson and John-Kymani Gordon dropping out of Darren Powell’s team from the trip to Merseyside.

      Once again, however, Jong PSV came into the final off the back of a season of senior football in the Dutch third division, and their greater experience told in the early stages as they retained possession and frequently switchd the play from flank to flank.

      They almost created the first clear opportunity five minutes in with a clever pass for Emir Bars down the left – but across came Kaden Rodney for Palace with a strong tackle to prevent his passage to goal.

      PSV continued to force their hosts to be on their toes defensively in the opening 10 minutes, as the Dutch team played a number of neat low crosses into the box, but Farquhar and Jemide stood firm.

      Then, after 15 minutes, a first clear chance for the hosts: a whipped corner kick was met by Umeh at the near post but, under pressure from the advancing ‘keeper Niek Shiks, the Irishman headed over.

      Where Palace’s playmaker might have scored, PSV’s No. 10 and captain – Mohamed Nassoh – ought to have moments later, as the visitors broke at space and worked the ball into a four-on-three position. Shaping to pass to the overlapping winger, Nassoh instead – inside the box – curled a low shot wide of the far post.

      Chances of that ilk were proving at a premium in a typically cagey final, but a long header launched clear gave Ola-Adebomi his first real sight of goal 30 minutes in. The forward ran into the box and prepared to unleash his shot, but was tackled at the last.

      In the final quarter-of-an-hour of the half, it turned into the Joe Whitworth show – Palace’s newly-crowned U21s Player of the Year keeping the Dutch outfit at bay with a series of stunning saves.

      The first saw another pull-back towards Tai Abed Kassus on the penalty spot, but his low placed finish was kept out at the second time of asking by Whitworth, who had done well to delay his dive.

      The next effort was also from Abed, but was a more comfortable one for Whitworth from 30 yards – but the next two were certainly befitting of his leadership status in the team.

      After David Ozoh had his pocket picked near the corner flag – despite what appeared to be a foul by Jejar Uneken – the ball went back to Nassoh on the edge of the area, whose curling low effort was well-placed towards the bottom corner.

      Whitworth, initially unsighted, somehow got down low to his left to turn it round the post.

      Then, three minutes into added time, a real show-stopper: when Abed took aim for the far top corner from 25 yards out, his effort appeared goalbound, but Whitworth somehow flung himself across the goal high enough to get a palm to it and turn the effort onto the underside of the crossbar.

      Thankfully, it bounced clear, with Jemide then doing well to get his body in the way of a follow-up effort when PSV crossed once more.

      Palace had certainly been in the game as a contest, and worked the ball into some promising positions, but were indebted to their ‘keeper for going in level at half-time – and rallied, emerging from the tunnel with renewed purpose.

      PSV admittedly still had the greater penetration in the opening stages of the half, with Uneken twice fluffing chances from pull-backs: the first, a placed shot from a position he really should have scored in; the second, an air-shot from a more difficult chance.

      Then, on 67 minutes, Palace’s breakthrough – and, fittingly, in front of a raucous Holmesdale Stand to boot.

      Moments after Umeh had seen a fizzing low cross cut out at the near post with Ola-Adebomi attacking it, the Irishman was on the receiving end of a similar low ball in.

      Ozoh had won the ball back in midfield and played it to Roshaun Mathurin, who played a neat one-two with Devenny and delivered.

      Despite Umeh’s not being the cleanest of strikes, his effort deflected off Matteo Dams’ midriff, looped up and dropped – slowly but surely – into the back of the net. Lift-off.

      That forced the game to open up and Palace made good use of the additional space, a clipped cross from Umeh finding its way to Umeh at the back post; the Irishman tried to get a shot away but was denied by a robust challenge from Emmanuel van der Blaak, prompting unsuccessful penalty appeals.

      That prompted the end of Umeh’s match as the Eagles brought on defensive reinforcements in the shape of Vonnte Williams – and the full-back was soon involved in throwing his body in front of a number of efforts from distance.

      As the game ticked into its final quarter-of-an-hour, the PSV pressure grew, and the Eagles were once again indebted to the woodwork when Nassoh’s shot from the edge of the box deflected over Whitworth and struck the frame of the goal.

      Bouncing back out to substitute Julian Kwaaitaal, the Dutch forward blazed over a volleyed rebound with the goal at his mercy.

      PSV went increasingly physical and direct in their late siege on the Palace box, but the Eagles were breaking at pace and could have sealed the game with seven minutes remaining.

      Roshaun Mathurin darted down the right and pulled the ball back for Devenny inside the area, but his side-footed shot whistled wide with the midfielder under pressure from an onrushing defender.

      With Palace continuing to carve out shooting opportunities, Rak-Sakyi curled wide – but there would be one last final aerial siege on the Eagles’ goal in the four minutes of added time.

      But despite Uneken appearing to miscue a header when well-placed, and Jevon Simons flicking one delivery into Whitworth’s palms, the home team by and large navigated the additional time with a degree of comfort.

      When the full-time whistle sounded, deserved scenes of jubilation as the Young Eagles delighted in the triumph of a trophy lift at Selhurst Park – and the knowledge that, wherever their careers might end up taking them, this was a night they would remember for the rest of their lives.

      Palace: Whitworth (GK), Imray, Jemide, Farquhar, Rodney, Umeh (Williams, 76), Ozoh, Devenny, Mathurin, Ola-Adebomi (Reid, 68), Rak-Sakyi.

      Subs: Izquierdo (GK), Grante, Trialist, Akinwale, Agbinone.

      Jong PSV: Schiks (GK), van de Blaak, Jansen, Egan-Riley, Dams, Jiménez, Abed (Kwaaitaal, 57), Nassoh, Uneken, Bars (Thomas, 86), Simons.

      Subs: Kuhl (GK), Smolenaars, Geerts, de Guzman, Rovers.