Belfast Telegraph

Crystal Palace and Everton's minds elsewhere as FA Cup semi-finals loom

Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Crystal Palace and Everton both have FA Cup semi-finals to play at Wembley next weekend, and last night at Selhurst Park it showed.

Having secured safety from relegation, despite desperately under-performing in the league, these two sides now just want to make sure they get to Wembley in as healthy a state as possible - the Toffees will face Manchester United while Palace meet Watford.

To that end they played out a drab 0-0 draw in which there was a touch of attacking enterprise, but very little quality. When James McCarthy was sent off early in the second-half it became a siege on Joel Robles' goal, but Palace have struggled for goals and that did not change.

Alan Pardew's men started the better. Dwight Gayle's looked dangerous and when he got on the end of Wilfried Zaha's cross, he should have hit the target.

Everton started to settle and one lovely move ended with Leighton Baines crossing to Seamus Coleman, only for his volley to go straight at Wayne Hennessey.

When the second-half begun Everton had the upper hand, as Ross Barkley struck the bar from 20 yards and Coleman had a penalty appeal turned down.

But, just seven minutes after the restart, McCarthy appeared to forget that he had been booked in the first-half because when Yannick Bolasie tried to break, McCarthy blocked his run, was booked a second time and sent off.

Palace could not break through. Their misfiring strikers are the story of their season, and Everton emerged unscathed.

PALACE: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Cabaye, Jedinak, Puncheon, Zaha (Sako, 77 mins), Gayle (Wickham, 46 mins), Bolasie (Adebayor, 66 mins). Unused subs: McCarthy, Lee, Ledley, Kelly.

Everton: Robles, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines, McCarthy, Barry, Lennon (Oviedo, 69 mins) Barkley (Mirallas, 86 mins), Kone (Besic, 54 mins), Lukaku. Unused subs: Niasse, Deulofeu, Pienaar, Howard.

Man of the match: Joel Robles

Match rating: 2/10

Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire)

Belfast Telegraph

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