Zaha sees off Stoke as Palace march on
ALAN Pardew sees no reason why his Crystal Palace side can’t go on and win the FA Cup after reaching the fifth round at the expense of Stoke City.
Pardew has come within touching distance of lifting the trophy in previous years and never closer than a decade ago, when he managed West Ham to Wembley only to lose out to favourites Liverpool on penalties.
And the 54-year-old is still in the hat this time round, after Wilfried Zaha’s first-half strike was enough to condemn Stoke to their second cup exit in a week.
“We’re doing well in the league and in the fifth round of the FA Cup,” said Pardew.
“I’d have taken that at the start of the season.
“Lesser teams than ourselves have won the competition in recent years so we’ve got a chance.
“I really wanted a strong performance from the team. Everyone put a performance in at or above their level.
“We needed a win for our fans, who have followed us for the past three games. I think we rewarded them.”
Palace were ahead after 17 minutes, when Zaha sprinted through the Potters defence and calmly slotted past Jakob Haugaard.
They could perhaps have had a numerical advantage as well on the half-hour mark as Marc Wilson escaped with a yellow card following a late tackle of Frazier Campbell.
Stoke did have chances to force a replay, Switzerland international Xherdan Shaqiri firing narrowly over the crossbar twice during the 90 minutes, but the hosts held firm to reach round five.
And Potters boss Mark Hughes, who afforded some of his bigger names a rest after their League Cup defeat to Liverpool via a penalty shootout on Tuesday evening, conceded his side hit a brick wall.
“We found it difficult to break them down,” said Hughes.
“I had to freshen up some positions and a lot of key players were unavailable.
“We just lacked a little quality in our final ball and our end product when we got in decent positions wasn’t quite good enough.”