Palace book Wembley trip with two late goals in Cup

READING • Crystal Palace reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time in 21 years as Yohan Cabaye's controversial penalty inspired a 2-0 win at Reading on Friday.

Alan Pardew's Premier League strugglers looked as though they would have to settle for a replay with just minutes left in the quarter-final at the Madejski Stadium.

But Yannick Bolasie won a debatable 86th-minute penalty, tumbling following slight contact with Reading defender Jake Cooper, who was sent off for the foul.

France midfielder Cabaye stepped up to convert the spot-kick before Fraizer Campbell added Palace's second goal with virtually the last kick of the game.

The Eagles' late flourish takes them into the last four for the first time since 1995, when they lost to Manchester United in a replay.

Palace's progress to Wembley is at odds with their terrible league form and they arrived at second-tier Reading on a 12-match winless run that had seen them slide towards the relegation zone.

It was a much-needed boost for Pardew, who cut his managerial teeth at Reading before leaving in 2003 to take charge of West Ham.

He received a frosty reception from Royals fans on his latest return, but eventually had the last laugh.

"I haven't seen the penalty again and I'm not going to even give it an opinion. I've had enough trouble with penalties!" Pardew said, referring to Liverpool's dubious penalty winner against Palace last week.

"It was a tricky tie for us but we were really good and should have wrapped it up before the penalty.

"We've been terrific in the Cup but edgy and nervous in the league. Hopefully we can take this into the league," he added.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 13, 2016, with the headline 'Palace book Wembley trip with two late goals in Cup'. Print Edition | Subscribe