Crystal Palace produced a slick attacking performance to thrash Everton 4-0 and secure an FA Cup semi-final place at Wembley.
Marc Guehi, called up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the first time earlier this week, headed home Michael Olise’s corner for the opening goal (25), with Jean-Philippe Mateta then converting from Wilfried Zaha’s cut-back (41).
Palace, FA Cup runners-up in 2016, when they were narrowly beaten by Manchester United in extra-time, continued to overpower Everton in the second half with Zaha (79) and substitute Will Hughes (87) extending their lead with close-range finishes.
Relegation-threatened Everton came into the game on the back of a morale-boosting 1-0 win over Newcastle in the Premier League on Thursday, but those exertions appeared to take a toll in the south London sun as they rarely threatened after a bright start.
- Jack Butland started in goal for Crystal Palace in place of Vicente Guaita while Eberechi Eze made only his fourth start of the season.
- Jordan Pickford returned in goal for Everton, with deputy Asmir Begovic, who started against Newcastle on Thursday, unavailable due to illness.
Palace, on the other hand, offered plenty of excitement with Olise, Eberechi Eze, Zaha and Conor Gallagher named in the same starting line-up for the first time, the youthful quartet allowing the home supporters to continue dreaming of Wembley glory.
Crystal Palace: Butland (7), Clyne (7), Andersen (7), Guehi (8), Mitchell (7), Kouyate (7), Gallagher (8), Eze (8), Olise (8), Mateta (8), Zaha (9).
Subs: Milivojevic (6), Edouard (7), Benteke (6), Hughes (7)
Everton: Pickford (6), Coleman (7), Holgate (5), Godfrey (6), Keane (6), Kenny (6), Doucoure (6), Gomes (5), Gordon (6), Townsend (7), Richarlison (6).
Subs: Gray (7), Calvert-Lewin (6), Iwobi (6).
Man of the match: Wilfried Zaha.
How Palace breezed into last four
Everton started brightly on the back of their dramatic win over Newcastle, with Ben Godfrey almost sliding home a diagonal shot by Michael Keane in the second minute and Richarlison causing problems for Guehi in the early stages.
But an injury to former Palace man Andros Townsend, who had to be helped from the field after twisting his knee in the 13th minute, seemed to tilt the momentum in Palace’s favour.
Guehi’s goal arrived after Olise’s initial corner had almost caught Jordan Pickford out, the returning Everton ‘keeper having to punch it over the crossbar, and Palace almost doubled their lead when Zaha sent a Mateta cut-back into the side-netting.
Richarlison then spurned a chance to equalise when he fired straight at Jack Butland from Seamus Coleman’s diagonal ball over the top and that wasted opportunity was punished when Palace sliced through Everton not long afterwards, with Mateta converting after Eze had released Zaha on the left.
Mateta had a chance to add a third shortly before the break, when he latched onto a headed pass from Eze, who shone on only his fourth start of the season, but Seamus Coleman made an excellent recovery tackle before he could get a shot off.
Frank Lampard, who won the competition four times to Palace boss Patrick Vieira’s five as a player, threw on Dominic Calvert-Lewin at half-time but Everton could not live with Palace’s vibrant attack.
The third goal came in bizarre circumstances after Olise had failed to connect properly with a shot, sending it looping onto Pickford’s far post, where Zaha reacted quickest to slide the ball home.
Demarai Gray was the only Everton player who looked dangerous at the other end, once flashing a low shot narrowly wide from outside the box, but substitute Hughes sparked more delirious celebrations from the home fans when he turned the ball home after Gallagher’s low shot had been well saved.
Zaha, Guehi hail ‘amazing’ win
Wilfried Zaha told ITV Sport: “It’s amazing. Obviously it’s crazy that it’s the first year that the team’s played together and you can see the progress already.
“I think that, over time when the team gels together more, there’s more to come.”
Marc Guehi added: “It was a bit of a nervy start from myself but I think we responded well by being resilient, by defending well and making sure that, in that period, we didn’t concede.
“Thankfully we didn’t and we went on to have a good performance.
“Fantastic feeling going to Wembley. We’ve achieved a lot this season and we can’t wait for that game.”