Skip navigation
Crystal palace

      Report & Highlights: Plange pounces as Palace reach International Cup last eight

      Crystal Palace U21
      Plange 19'
      Feyenoord U21
      Hokke 14'

      Luke Plange’s first-half equaliser and a string of fine saves from captain Joe Whitworth saw Crystal Palace Under-21s earn a 1-1 draw against Feyenoord U21s, qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Premier League International Cup.


      • Two changes for Palace: Plange and Ola-Adebomi return to Powell’s starting XI
      • Eagles seeking to finish group-stage campaign unbeaten
      • Both sides enjoy early half-chances
      • Deflected Hokke strike puts Feyenoord in the lead on 14 minutes
      • Reid’s corner almost sneaks in for Palace immediately afterwards
      • Plange equalises within minutes after linking up with Raymond
      • Ola-Adebomi heads over from close range
      • Whitworth reacts sharply to deny Van der Heijden a tap-in
      • HT: Palace 1-1 Feyenoord
      • Visitors enjoy bulk of possession after the interval, but Palace break sharply
      • Whitworth denies Zaal and De Blok as Feyenoord mount pressure
      • Mathurin introduced and tees up Umeh, whose effort is blocked
      • Goalmouth scramble denies Mathurin, Plange and Ola-Adebomi
      • Whitworth produces wondersave to tip over Elmensdorp drive
      • On the counter, Umeh hits the inside of the post for Palace
      • Palace goalkeeper keeps out Sanyang’s rising effort in final minute
      • FT: Palace 1-1 Feyenoord
      International Cup Highlights: Palace 1-1 Feyenoord

      Following a dramatic 3-3 draw against Blackburn Rovers three days prior, Palace U21s head coach Darren Powell made two changes to his side to face the Dutch outfit.

      Luke Plange, returning from loan at Carlisle United, replaced John-Kymani Gordon, heading out to Wimbledon; and leading scorer Ademola Ola-Adebomi came into the side for Roshaun Mathurin.

      The task ahead of the Eagles – amidst freezing conditions in south London, which required the game to be brought forward – was simple enough: a draw would guarantee them progression as, at least, one of the two best third-placed sides in the Premier League International Cup groups, unbeaten in four matches; a win would seal it in style.

      It was understandable given the conditions, however, that the game would take 10 or so scrappy opening minutes to really warm up, both teams feeling their way into the contest.

      It was Palace who threatened the more early on – Plange coming close to reaching a long ball over the top, moments before his cute reverse pass gave Franco Umeh the chance to shoot, but the forward was shut down.

      Yet Feyenoord took the lead on 14 minutes against the run of play; a delightful backheel from Nesto Groen on the edge of the box teed up Milan Hokke to blast goalwards, and his effort appeared to take a nick off a defender as it sailed into the top corner.

      As they did so against Blackburn, Palace responded immediately: moments after Dylan Reid’s corner almost went straight in at the near post, Plange began a move from deep which culminated in him collecting Jadan Raymond's square ball, driving into the box and squeezing a finish below the ‘keeper.

      Palace’s momentum did not let up, and Ola-Adebomi would come close just before the half-an-hour mark when Imray’s well-flighted cross picked out the striker at the back post; the No. 9, however, could not rise above the ball to keep his header on target.

      Feyenoord would come close to retaking the lead as the half-time whistle approached: a slack backpass sent Whitworth frantically backpedalling towards his own goal-line, the ‘keeper showing impressive pace to get back, slide in and prevent a tap-in for Delano Van der Heijden.

      A goal each perhaps seemed a harsh reflection on Palace’s first-half dominance, but when the match resumed for the second-half, it was a far more even affair.

      Demonstrating the benefits of Premier League International Cup football, Feyenoord began to take control of possession, their slow build-up play in stark contrast to the penetrating pace Palace looked to take advantage of on the counter through Umeh, Ola-Adebomi and Plange.

      It was Umeh who was heavily involved in the early stages of the second-half, one sharp run committing defenders and allowing him to flash the ball across the face of goal, to no Palace touch.

      But the away side grew into the contest and began to provide the greater threat, Lars De Blok’s long-range free-kick not too far away from finding the top corner, and Timo Zaal – increasingly influential in central midfield – testing Whitworth’s handling with one fierce effort.

      The England youth international then did well to palm away a corner from De Blok under pressure, before getting down low to prevent Groen from getting a shot away on the break.

      At the other end, Justin Devenny’s corners for Palace were posing plenty of problems for Feyenoord, with one such delivery bouncing around the area before being scrambled clear.

      With a quarter of the game remaining, substitutions for both teams appeared to have slowed the flow of the contest – but then, with 15 minutes left, it exploded into life.

      Mathurin, introduced in the closing stages, offered plenty of threat, teeing up Umeh – whose shot was blocked at point-blank range – and then being involved in another goalmouth scramble which saw the winger, Plange and Ola-Adebomi all come agonisingly close to forcing the ball over the line.

      With five minutes remaining, Whitworth – wearing the captain’s armband for Palace- produced arguably the moment of the match with a jaw-dropping one-handed save to tip over Paris Elmensdorp’s rising drive, the Feyenoord full-back having already wheeled away to celebrate what seemed a certain goal.

      The chances kept coming: seconds after that intervention, Mathurin led yet another counter-attack and slipped in Umeh down the inside-left channel. Bearing down on goal, the forward’s placed effort was well-stuck – but agonisingly hit the inside of the post before bouncing away.

      As the clock ticked into stoppage time, Whitworth came to the rescue again, springing high to his left to keep out Amadou-David Sanyang’s effort across goal as both sides finished strongly.

      There would be one final chance for Umeh in the third added minute as he weaved between two defenders, but on this occasion he could not reproduce his last-gasp heroics of the weekend.

      A red-hot finish to a match played in bitterly cold conditions – but most importantly, a draw which sees Palace guarantee their progression to the next round, unbeaten in four group-stage matches.

      Palace: Whitworth (GK), Imray, Sheridan, Rodney, Watson, Devenny, Reid (Wells-Morrison, 66), Raymond (Mathurin, 73), Plange, Ola-Adebomi, Umeh.

      Subs not used: Izquierdo (GK), Francis, C. Eze., Trialist

      Feyenoord: Berger (GK), Elmensdorp, Valk, De Blok, Candelaria (Netten, 66), Van der Heijden (Arnaud, 66), Zaal, Hokke (Pusic, 59), Essanoussi (Sanyang, 59), Van der Sluijs, Groen (Rais, 66)

      Subs not used: Kroesen (GK)