Brighton 0-2 Crystal Palace (Agg 0-2)
Manchester United loanee Wilfred Zaha scored a second half double as Crystal Palace booked a date with Watford in the Championship Play Off Final.
After the first leg ended in a stalemate, the Amex Stadium was all set for a showdown with their arch rivals. Brighton were unbeaten in 10 games and Palace had just 1 win in 10 games and were underdogs heading into this one. Brighton had even won the league fixture 3-0, all the signs pointed to a Brighton win.
The first half was scrappy, tense and anxious, there was only one real chance, Aaron Wilbraham poking wide for Palace from 6 yards out. The travelling fans were in full voice, Brighton had yet to kick into gear and the first half ended 0-0.
The second half was totally different, Zaha influential throughout Palace’s league campiagn diced past Calderon before sending Jonathon Williams through but the youngster could only fire wide. Brighton needed insipration, they had barely created anything during the game but Orlandi who came on as a substitue forced Speroni to touch his effort onto the bar with the playmaker’s first touch.
But the moment the Palace fans were waiting for came in the 69th minute, a rip-roaring ball into the box from Bolasise found the head of Wilfred Zaha who got in behind veteran defender Wayne Bridge, Zaha’s header finding the corner.
Brighton were pushing but a stubborn and impressive defensive display from the Eagles meant that Brighton couldn’t find a way back into the game. It got worse for Gus Poyet on 88 minutes, Bolasise again linking with Zaha whoose daft touch allowed him to turn Gordon Greer and fire an unstoppable effort into the top corner.
Palace are off to Wembley where they will meet Watford on May 27th for a place in the promised land, the Premier League.