Zaha double strike fires Crystal Palace into playoff final


Wed, May 15, 2013 - Page 19

Wilfried Zaha fired Crystal Palace into the Championship playoff final as the England winger’s double sealed a 2-0 win over Brighton in Monday’s semi-final second leg.

Ian Holloway’s team will face Watford at Wembley on May 27 with a lucrative place in the Premier League at stake thanks to the perfect leaving present from Zaha.

Zaha will join Manchester United at the end of the season after Palace agreed to sell him to the Premier League champions in a £15 million (US$23 million) deal in January.

However, the 20-year-old will have a chance to take Palace into the English top-flight before saying farewell after scoring twice in the second half to sink Brighton at the Amex Stadium.

After the first leg ended goalless at Selhurst Park on Friday, Brighton must have felt they had the advantage, but they paid the price for wasting several opportunities to go in front before Zaha took charge.

“We are six undefeated, but we came to this place and everyone said we wouldn’t have a chance,” Holloway said.

“I’m bursting with pride. We go to Wembley to take on Watford and who says we can’t do that,” he said. “Watford are a fantastic team, but so are we.”