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  • By Yann Tear

Olise excellence sees Eagles overcome Millwall in raucous FA Cup tie

FA Cup Third Round

Millwall (1) 1 Afobe 17

Crystal Palace (0) 2 Olise 46, Mateta 59

A superb individual display from Michael Olise turned a thrilling FA Cup tie on its head after the interval as the Eagles booked their passage into the FA Cup fourth round.

In a noisy, feverish south-London derby which fizzed with tension and intermittent firecrackers and flares from the away end, Millwall deservedly led at the break with a goal from Benik Afobe.

But the Eagles roused themselves from their slumbers to quickly seize control at the start of the second half and it was Olise who did the damage - scoring the equaliser before putting the second on a plate for Jean-Philippe Mateta.

There was plenty of encouragement for the Lions early on – and not just from the raucous stands.

Scott Malone’s inswinging corner pinged off the top of the crossbar and Tom Bradshaw’s cut-back to Afobe at the near post was fired just over from inside the box.

Anxious to build up some pressure, George Saville complained and the fans whistled their disapproval when ref Anthony Taylor stopped the game so that Conor Gallagher could have a facial cut seen to.

The momentum was rewarded on 17 minutes in calamitous fashion for the Eagles when Jack Butland got in a mess trying to play his way out of trouble from a back-pass with Bradshaw closing in.

The keeper lost the ball trying to poke the ball away, playing it straight to Afobe, and with no other Palace player in attendance, the striker had the simple task of rolling the ball home.

The Stunned Eagles took a while to respond and it was a while before they finally troubled George Long – a hit from Jeffrey Schlupp having the power but not the direction to trouble the Lions’ keeper.

They came closer when a dazzling run from Ebe Eze was halted on the edge of the penalty area and Gallagher followed up to crash a shot just past the far upright.

But typical of the fight being shown by the lower division team was the perfectly-timed tackle by Saville just before the break to deny Eze a clear pot at goal.

Palace needed to up their game and Patrick Vieira probably read the riot act at the break. Within a minute of the restart, the Eagles had drawn level, when Olise cut in from the right edge of the area to fire across Long and into the net via the far post.

Not long after, Olise almost repeated the trick with an identikit strike, which this time cannoned back off the post rather than finding the net. And the on-fire winger had another effort just over as Millwall struggled to contain the new and improved Palace.

As if to prove this had now become the Michael Olise show, the feet-footed winger drifted out to the right once more in the move which settled the game, checking back before standing up the perfect ball for Mateta to nod home from six yards.

Millwall did their best to find the goal which would have taken the match to extra time, but apart from a few low crosses which begged for a touch, and a late Matt Smith header, Palace looked sound in closing out the tie.

Lions: (3-4-2-1) Long – Hutchinson, Pearce (Bennett 62), Cooper – McNamara, Mitchell (Smith 81), Saville (Kieftenbeld 50), Malone – Ojo (Boeteng 81), Bradshaw – Afobe (Burey 82). Subs not used: Bialkowski, Evans, Topalloj, Lovelace

Eagles: (4-3-3) Butland – Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell – Schlupp (Riedewald 88), Gallagher, Hughes (Milivojevic 82) – Eze (Benteke 64), Mateta (Edouard 65), Olise (Clyne 88). Subs not used: Matthews, Kelly, Wells-Morris, Rak-Sakyi


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