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      Report: Crystal Palace 0-0 Cardiff City

      Crystal Palace
      Cardiff City

      Crystal Palace were left painfully frustrated following a match in which they saw chance after chance narrowly missed or heroicly prevented in a thoroughly frustrating 0-0 draw with Neil Warnock's Cardiff City.

      Despite launching a relentless series of attacks in the game's second-half, it would only be a point given to Palace fans as a late Christmas present instead of the deserved three.

      Palace started the game in lightning fast fashion and almost opened the day's account within one minute after Wilfried Zaha turned and flicked the ball well to Andros Townsend who latched onto it smartly before poking just over 'keeper Neil Etheridge only to be denied by the Bluebirds' crossbar. 

      Minutes later, with the Eagles playing in the ascendence, Zaha was again involved in forcing Welsh breath to be held as he found space on the edge of the box to aim a shot at goal which was ultimately driven just wide.

      Having pitched camp in the Cardiff half for the game's opening 15 minutes, captain Luka Milivojevic then sought to capitalise on his side's dominance when Townsend poked a ball in his direction which allowed him to stab goalbound, though Etheridge stood behind the tame effort to hold on calmly.

      Cardiff responded to the ever-lurking Palace threat when David Junior Hoilett marauded down the Eagles' left-wing to fire an effort towards Vicente Guaita, who, despite having been a spectator for the game's opening 25 minutes, was alert enough to draw the flying ball into his chest and nullify the Bluebirds' chance.

      Maintaining their steadily acquired offensive presence, Cardiff saw a clear chance go begging when Kadeem Harris crossed into Palace's box where an unmarked Bobby Reid leapt into the air before spinning mid-jump to knock the ball over with the back of his head. Seconds later, Joe Ralls picked up the ball on the edge of Guaita's box but his resulting shot was too soft to seriously trouble the Spaniard between the sticks.

      By the half-hour mark, then, the match had evened out and both teams were frustrated to have seen opportunities squandered. It would be Palace next who would look to the heavens in frustration after Zaha raced down the Selhurst turf on the break to launch a rocket of a cross across goal which was punched away with venom by a diving Etheridge before Aaron Wan-Bissaka was challenged very strongly on the edge of the box to cancel out the swiftly-worked chance.

      Cardiff returned to the pitch for the second half with Hoilett again keeping Guaita on his toes as he struck at goal from inside the box within a minute of the game re-starting. The shot-stopper did well to get down low and keep the fizzed ball static in his engulfing arms.

      Palace struck back with their own chance moments later as Zaha picked out an un-marked Kouyate in the area whose resulting effort was only prevented from hitting the target by Sol Bamba's out-stretched leg, which left the ball spinning over for a corner.

      Fans in red and blue were sent jumping to their feet barely two minutes later when a spell of Palace pressure resulted in Kouyate striking the ball just over the bar as he found himself on the end of a heavily deflected Max Meyer shot.

      As Selhurst Park built its renowned atmosphere with growing passion, Roy Hodgson's Palace side drove ever more determinedly at the Boxing Day visitors.

      The chances didn't relent and Zaha tried persistently to cut inside and shoot at Etheridge but was eventually forced to fire an effort from a tight angle, somehow managing to force the 28-year-old shot-stopper into a save.

      Meyer found himself disappointed just minutes later as he ran into the box only to shoot over a gilt-edged opportunity. The talented German was replaced by Connor Wickham shortly afterwards, who was immediately involved as he glanced a header towards and un-marked Zaha in the box who could only volley the ball over with a first-time hit.

      Next to narrowly miss for the Eagles was James McArthur, who, standing centrally in the box, struck the ball at goal only to see his effort deflected out of touch. Less than half a minute later and it was the substitute Wickham who turned through 180 degrees close to goal to catch the ball with his turning, swinging foot as he struck just inches wide of the post.

      The ball would again find itself tantalisingly close to the back of the Cardiff net only to end up not quite on the right side of the post as a Milivojevic free-kick cannoned off the woodwork with Etheridge well beaten.

      At the other end of the pitch, Harris found the ball at his feet and rifled an effort at goal but Guaita stood very strong and flung out a powerful arm to prevent the visitors from breaking the deadlock.

      The status quo was resumed, however, when Zaha fizzed a shot at goal which Etheridge launched himself at along the floor to push it wide of the post in a smart save. Again, the hands of Neil Etheridge prevented Palace from taking the lead when his diving save intercepted a Patrick van Aanholt effort from just inside the box.

      A goal was seemingly refusing to materialise for the home side as Zaha raced into Cardiff's box after Wickham did well to play him through, only to have what looked to be a guaranteed goal fantastically swept out of play by defender Bruno Ecuele Manga.

      Van Aanholt then was again denied by the fast-reactions of Etheridge, who flung himself in the way of his shot as Palace maintained a constant, battling assault on the Bluebirds' goalmouth. 

      The charge resulted in a frantic, tense final few minutes whereby Crystal Palace were unable to break the deadlock and the match finished in similar fashion to how it had always been played. The Eagles, however, had to contend with just one point.

      Palace: Guaita, Van Aanholt, Sakho, Tomkins, Wan-Bissaka, Meyer (Wickham 63), McArthur, Kouyate, Milivojevic, Townsend, Zaha.

      Subs not used: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Schlupp, Puncheon, Ayew.

      Cardiff: Etheridge, Peltier, Bennett, Morrison, Ecuele Manga, Ralls, Reid, Camarasa (Gunnarsson 90+1), Bamba, Harris, Hoilett (Arter 90+2).

      Subs not used: Smithies, Murphy, Cunningham, Mendez-Laing, Madine.