Super Eagles dump Reds


LONDON: Liverpool were sent crashing out of the FA Cup on Wednesday when Crystal Palace created the shock of the fourth round with a 2-0 win in the replay at Anfield. 

Julian Gray struck impressively and Stephane Henchoz put into his own net to give the First Division team a surprise ticket to face Leeds next. 

Southampton needed extra time to see off the challenge of another First Division team, Millwall, at the New Den but Matthew Oakley scored both goals in a 2-1 win which earns the Saints a home tie with Norwich. 

In the all-Premiership clash, Sunderland and Blackburn fought to a 2-2 draw in normal time and while extra-time failed to separate the sides, Sunderland were clear 3-0 winners in the penalty shootout. 

FLOORED: Liverpool's Michael Owen lies on the ground after missing a chance against Crystal Palace during their FA Cup fourth round replay at Anfield on Wednesday. Palace won 2-0.--AFPpic.

Liverpool were made to pay for wasting a host of goalscoring chances, including a clear-cut chance for Emile Heskey in the first half, and Gray finished off Gerard Houllier's side. 

His powerful shot flew past Jerzy Dudek on 55 minutes and he provided the cross which Swiss international Henchoz chested into his own net 11 minutes from time. 

Houllier tried to see the bright side, suggesting it could spur them to a renewed push into the Champions League places in the Premiership and that it would give them added incentive for their League Cup final against Manchester United. 

“We should have finished the match in the first half but we wasted chances,” said Houllier. 

“The turning point for me was Heskey's miss when he was clean through one-on-one. 

“Mentally our team just sunk after that. Credit to Palace but this is a bad night for us.” 

Palace substitute Dougie Freedman was sent off on 70 minutes for elbowing Sami Hyypia but Liverpool failed to make their advantage tell. 

The pattern of Liverpool's frustrating night was set in the early minutes when both Bruno Cheyrou and Hyypia had spurned reasonable chances in the game's opening minute and Michael Owen then pulled his shot wide.  

On 11 minutes Cheyrou's pass released Owen but his effort was again wide as he angled his shot over French keeper Cedric Berthelin. 

An El-Hadji Diouf run and pass created Owen's best opening but the England international blasted the ball over from six yards.  

On 55 minutes Gray showed Owen and Heskey the way to goal.  

Danny Butterfield crossed from the right and after Dele Adebole had mistimed his header, Gray thumped the ball home.  

Gray's pass led to Palace's second as Henchoz lunged to prod the ball past Dudek. 

In London, Strachan paid tribute to Oakley's form. 

“Oakley is as good as anyone I have seen this year. If anyone deserves an England cap it is him,” Strachan said. 

Oakley opened the scoring with a spectacular shot. 

Anders Svensson chested the ball back and Oakley rifled the shot into the Millwall net from well outside the penalty area. 

But the Saints were rocked when Millwall drew level. 

The veteran Steve Claridge's low cross from the right found Steven Reid and although his shot was saved by Antii Niemi, Reid was on hand to knock in the rebound.  

The match ended 1-1 in normal time but Oakley won the tie with a low shot across the area after 12 minutes of extra time. 

Sunderland beat Blackburn in a penalty shoot-out at the Stadium of Light after Garry Flitcroft had pushed the match into extra-time with a last minute equaliser for Blackburn. 

In the shoot-out, Sunderland keeper Thomas Sorensen saved spot kicks from both Andy Cole and Corrado Grabbi and David Thompson blasted over, leaving Gavin McCann to convert the crucial third penalty to earn a home clash with Watford. – AFP 

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