Crystal Palace beat Watford to set up an FA Cup final date with Manchester United.
A Connor Wickham second half header took Alan Pardew’s side into the FA Cup final for the first time in 26 years as his team defeated the Hornets 2-1 in the semifinals at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
Palace opened the scoring as early as the 6th minute after winger Yannick Bolasie home from a Yohan Cabaye corner.
Quique Sánchez Flores’ side drew level in the 55th minute when striker Troy Deeney out-jumped Palace defender Scott Dann to head past Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. Jose Manuel Jurado’s corner.
Wickham settled the game in the 61st minute after stretching to meet a cross from Pape Souare with his header flying beyond the reach of Watford keeper Costel Pantilimon.
Watford mounted late pressure to drag the game extra-time but Palace held on to advance to their second Cup final.
“We’ve let the fans down a little bit at home games this year but today we had out strongest team and it showed,” Pardew, who took as manager midway through last season, said.
“I’ve only played that team about eight times and the team was in total control of this game in my opinion.
“We talked at half-time about the Everton games yesterday that it changed and we needed to go up a level. Ironically Watford had five or 10 minutes where they bossed the game.
“But to boss the game for 80 minutes, which I think we did, is a tribute to the players.
“We will have a different game plan against Manchester United, but that is not to say we can’t control the game. We deserve to be there.”
The south London side will meet Manchester United – who beat Everton 2-1 on Saturday, on May 21 in a repeat of the 1990 final, which United won after a replay.
They now have the chance to avenge their defeat by the Red Devils 26 years ago, after a thrilling 3-3 draw in the first game.