Cardiff vs Crystal Palace Preview 24th January
Carling Cup Semi-Final, Second-Leg
The second leg of the Carling Cup Semi final between Championship League sides Cardiff City and Crystal Palace will take place at Cardiff City Stadium in Wales on Jan. 24 with Palace leading 1-0 on aggregate due to their home win at Selhurst Park in the first leg. The winner will take on either Liverpool or Manchester City in the final at Wembley Stadium in London on Feb. 26.
Malky Mackay, manager of Cardiff, said his team has won 13 out of their 17 home matches so far this season and feels they should be able to overcome the deficit to at least earn a 1-0 win and take the game into extra time if it’s tied on aggregate. If Cardiff does manage to win the semi final they’ll be headed to Wembley for the third time in the last five years.
However, Crystal Palace manager Dougie Freedman said he thinks Cardiff fans will be apprehensive since the team lost to Reading last year in the playoff semi finals and were beaten by Blackpool in final in 2010 and also the FA Cup Final in 2008 to Portsmouth. Mackay told the press that he’s not concerned with anything Freedman has to say and that he’s just worried about his own team and nobody else’s. He also thinks Freedman’s comments will actually motivate his crew to prove the Palace manager wrong.
Mackay said since it’s a two-legged tie then it’s really just half time and his team is only down 1-0 with 90 minutes to play at home. He said the home fans will provide a great boost to Cardiff and his players won’t want to let them down. However, he’s not sure if Kevin McNaughton will be able to play because he has a calf injury. If he can’t play, then it’s likely that Darcy Blake will take his place. Striker Rudy Gestede could be back in the squad following his ankle injury and Robert Earnshaw appears to be fit after suffering a muscle pull.
Freedman said that Cardiff has always fallen short in the past few years when they’ve been faced with big cup and league playoff games and they’re under a lot of pressure to win something. He added that their fans want to see them win a big game, but Palace fans are just happy to have gotten this far since the team wasn’t expected to make it all the way to the semi finals.
Freedman rested nine of his players on Saturday when Palace was beaten 2-1 away to Blackpool as the club was hit with a virus. However, he said everybody’s fit now and are anxious to play. He said the squad is well rested and will be in better condition than they were in the first leg.
Don Cowie is leading the way for Cardiff so far in the Carling Cup with three goals while Darren Ambrose has three for Palace. Cardiff is in third place in the Championship League table with 49 points, just four behind league-leading West Ham. Palace sits in 13th place with 37 points.
Predictions and Betting Odds
Look for Cardiff to finally win a big game here as they should be able to overcome the 1-0 deficit and book their trip to Wembley.
The current William Hill sportsbook odds for a Cardiff win are 4/5 with a Crystal Palace win at 4/1 and a 90-minute draw at 9/4. Register at the banner at the top on this page, and you’ll get some nice free bets for this game.