Doncaster Rovers 0-2 Crystal Palace: The Eagles soar into the quarter-finals
Max Meyer celebrating his goal via Getty Images

Doncaster Rovers 0-2 Crystal Palace: The Eagles soar into the quarter-finals

Crystal Palace booked their place in the next round of the FA Cup with a 2-0 win over Doncaster Rovers

matthew-wojciow
Matthew Wojciow

Goals from Jeffrey Schlupp and Max Meyer were enough to send Crystal Palace through to the quarter-finals of the Emirates FA Cup against Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Story of the game

Doncaster came out of the traps flying and more than matched their Premier League counterparts in the opening stages.

Palace did take the lead though with the game's first real chance. After a bursting run from deep by Schlupp was able to let fire from the top of the Rovers box and thanks to a deflection off of the Doncaster defender it found its way into the bottom right corner.  

The home side's first real chance of the game came in the 17th minute. Captain James Coppinger had a shot blocked after some superb work by Alfie May down the right. 

May then had a chance of his own on the left-hand side. The winger cut inside brilliantly and let off a powerful effort but it curled just wide of Wayne Hennessey's post.

The only real time, Doncaster called Hennessey into action was when Herbie Kane was able to get a shot away but it was easily held by the Welshman.

Palace did have a call for a penalty, waved away by referee Mike Dean. Patrick Van Aanholt played the ball across the box and seemed to hit Paul Downing on the arm but nothing was given. 

Palace did double their lead in first half stoppage time. A beautiful ball over the top from Luka Milivojevic found Andros Townsend, who flicked it across and Meyer nodded it in. 

Doncaster came out for the second half with real intent and had two chances one after the other. The first from Ben Whiteman, who let fly from just outside the box and forced a good save from Hennessey. In the resulting corner, Downing flicked the ball onto May, whose header went just over the bar.

Rovers had another great chance when Coppinger went on a great run through the middle and if it wasn't for deflection from a Palace defender it could have nestled in the net. 

Doncaster continued to put pressure on the Palace defence, in search of the goal that would bring themselves back into the tie. However, they were let down by a poor ball in the final third on numerous occasions. 

Palace did create a few half chances for themselves, with Meyer going close but his shot was blocked on the line and Michy Batshuayi slightly overrunning the ball after he was put through.

Doncaster put serious strain on the Palace defence in search of a goal but it was not to be for Rovers. 

Takeaways from the game

Could this finally be Palace's year?

After suffering heartbreak in the final in 2016, could 2019 be the year that Palace finally bag the FA Cup. The Eagles were not overly impressive in Yorkshire but they got the job done, which is what is important. They have already recreated part of what got them to the final and that is beating Tottenham and keeping a clean sheet. Only two of the so-called big six will be in the hat for Monday's draw so this could be Palace's best chance to add their name to this illustrious trophy.

There is an awful lot of pressure on Batshuayi to deliver 

After securing a move to Selhurst Park from Stamford Bridge until the end of the season on deadline day, Michy Batshuayi has a lot to prove. After a disappointing first season in London in 16/17, he headed to Germany in the latter half of last season to get some much needed first team football.

The Belgian impressed with seven goals in ten league appearances before getting injured. Upon his return to West London, Batshuayi was again sent on loan to Valencia, where he really struggled to find the net, only scoring once in 15 league appearances.

On his first start, Batshuayi looked quite rusty with quite a few heavy touches and misplaced passes. Given that Palace aren't blessed with high scoring strikers, Batshuayi should see this as his chance to prove to Maurizio Sarri that he is good enough to be in the Chelsea first team.

Doncaster should take huge confidence from cup exit

Doncaster currently sit in sixth in League 1 and have one/two games in hand on the teams around them due to this cup run. Doncaster might have lost this game but they more than matched Palace in all departments. The key difference between the two sides in this game was that when Palace had the chances they took them.

Doncaster moved the ball well and created some really good opportunities but failed to take them. If they are able to translate this level of performance into a weekly occurrence, then there is no reason why they can't cement themselves a play-off spot come May. 

Man of the Match

Luka Milivojevic

In these bigger cups games, especially when a side is not used to being the favourites, the pressure can get to a team. Milivojevic was the kind of head in the midfield that Palace needed in this game. He was calm and composed on the ball and broke up play superbly. The Serbian international had a hand in both of Palace's goals and his ball to Townsend for the second was magnificent. If Palace are to go deeper into the FA Cup, Milivojevic will need to continue the attitude he showed in this game. 

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