Palace edge nearer Cup final

2012-01-11 08:28

London - Crystal Palace took a step closer to the League Cup final after a 1-0 win at home to Championship rivals Cardiff City at Selhurst Park on Tuesday.

Anthony Gardner scored the only goal of the game when he netted for the first time in more than a year two minutes before the interval.

Former Tottenham defender Gardner was on target when, following a free-kick from Darren Ambrose, he headed a flick-on from Mile Jedinak into an unguarded net to give Palace, shock quarter-final winners over Manchester United, the lead ahead of the return fixture in Cardiff on January 24.

"We needed to get a good performance in at home and get ourselves ready for the second leg," Gardner told the BBC.

"It was intense, you could see out there, it was a fiery game, they came to win it and so did we but the fire was in the belly and you could see that with the boys tonight.

"When you've got Darren Ambrose there, he is always going to put it on the money, his free-kicks are dangerous."

Welsh side Cardiff came close to an equaliser when Kenny Miller headed in from a corner only for referee Mike Dean to disallow the 'goal', seemingly for a foul on Palace keeper Julian Speroni.

The winners of this all-second tier tie will face either Premier League giants Manchester City or Liverpool, who play the first leg of their semi on Wednesday, in a February 26 final at London's Wembley Stadium.