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SPORTS UPDATE

It’s a wonderful feeling to forge ahead in FA Cup contest, says Zaha

Crystal Palace ace, Wilfried Zaha, has described their victory over Everton as a wonderful feeling.

The player was one of the stars who inspired Palace to book a trip to Wembley with a comfortable victory over Everton in their FA Cup quarter-final at Selhurst Park.

First-half goals from Marc Guehi and Jean-Philippe Mateta put them in full control before Wilfried Zaha and Will Hughes secured the win, as the hosts’ verve and attacking purpose overpowered a poor Toffees side.

Such a heavy defeat looked unlikely as Everton made a ferocious start, almost taking the lead inside the first minute through Michael Keane before Richarlison tangled with Guehi but was ruled to be offside.

However, after Everton’s Andros Townsend was forced off with an injury, the hosts settled down and Guehi put them ahead on 25 minutes with a powerful header from Michael Olise’s pinpoint corner.

Everton’s poor marking almost cost them again moments later as Zaha got across Godfrey to meet Mateta’s byeline cross, only to fire narrowly wide.

With half-time looming, Palace made it 2-0. Eberechi Eze combined with Zaha, who reversed roles with Mateta, crossing low for the striker to finish emphatically past Jordan Pickford.

Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin was summoned at half-time by Everton, but there was no immediate upturn in fortune for Frank Lampard’s side, who lacked ideas and energy.

Zaha made the result sure 11 minutes from time, slamming home the rebound after Olise’s looped shot came back off the post.

And, after a VAR check for handball, Hughes compounded Everton’s misery with a close-range finish in the closing stages.

Zaha later said,

“Amazing – it’s crazy that this is the first year we’ve played together you can see the progress already. There’s more to come from this side.

“It shows the direction the club is going – the club is heading in a good direction.

“Fantastic feeling going to Wembley – we’ve achieved a lot this season and we can’t wait.”

Palace teammate Guehi also said: “Really enjoying it – it’s fantastic. I’ve settled in really well, credit to everyone at Palace for making me feel welcome. I just really hope we can continue this form.

“It was a nervy start from myself but we responded well to make sure we didn’t concede a goal in that top period and we had a good performance after that.”

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