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Match Reports

Lions defeated in Emirates FA Cup

Our Third Round report...

8 January 2022

Millwall exited the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday afternoon with a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace.

Benik Afobe got The Den rocking with the opener in the first-half, but two early second-half goals from Michael Olise and Jean-Philippe Mateta turned the tie on its head.

Gary Rowett made two changes to the side which lost 3-2 at Bristol City on Sunday, with George Long starting between the sticks in place of Bartosz Bialkowski and Scott Malone coming in for Murray Wallace, who attended the birth of his child.

Roared on by a sell-out crowd, it was The Lions who created the early running and the first chance, but Malone's corner-kick bounced out of play via the top of the crossbar.

With eight minutes on the clock, Tom Bradshaw received the ball on the left-hand side of the penalty area and threaded a pass through to Afobe, but his effort was struck over.

With 17 minutes played, The Lions took a deserved lead. After Jack Butland spent too long dallying on the ball, he was closed down by a combination of Bradshaw and Afobe, with the latter able to slot into an empty net and open the scoring.

It could have been two just three minutes later, but George Saville poked the ball into the arms of Butland after a throw-in was knocked down and into the box. The Eagles' first chance then fell at the feet of Jeffrey Schlupp on 22 minutes, but he skewed an attempt wide.

Schlupp then tested the palms of Long with a shot from just outside the area, with Sheyi Ojo skidding an attempt off the surface and into the grasp of Butland shortly after.

There were warning signs for The Lions just 10 minutes before the break as Conor Gallagher let fly from 20 yards out after some patient Palace build-up, but his effort sailed just wide of the far post. An expert challenge from Saville then prevented the visitors from getting a strike on goal in stoppage-time as The Lions went in one up at the break.

The second-half was less than a minute old when Crystal Palace levelled - Olise cutting inside before curling an attempt in off the post and past Long.

Five minutes later, a carbon copy was nearly produced, but, this time, after Olise shifted the ball onto his other foot and curled towards goal, the ball struck the base of the post and bounced clear.

Maikel Kieftenbeld - who replaced the injured Saville after 50 minutes - sliced an effort over from the edge of the area as The Lions probed for the next goal, but the turnaround was complete with 58 minutes on the clock as Mateta ghosted in, unmarked, to head past Long.

Gallagher struck over as Palace looked for a third just after the hour mark, with Afobe having an effort blocked at the other end as the final 20 minutes came into view. Substitute Mason Bennett then aimed and fired on 78 minutes but found the clutch of Butland.

Rowett opted to bring Matt Smith, Tyler Burey and Nana Boateng - for his Millwall debut - on with 10 minutes remaining in a last roll of the dice, but despite a late Smith header, The Lions could not muster any further chances.

Millwall: Long, McNamara, Hutchinson, Cooper, Bradshaw (Smith 81'), Malone, Ojo (Boateng 80'), Pearce (Bennett 62'), Saville (Kieftenbeld 50'), Afobe (Burey 81'), B. Mitchell. Subs not used: Bialkowski, Evans, Topalloj, Lovelace.

Scorer: Afobe 17'

Booking: B. Mitchell

Crystal Palace: Butland, Ward, T. Mitchell, Guehi, Olise (Clyne 87'), Eze (Benteke 64'), Hughes (Milivojevic 81'), Mateta (Edouard 64'), Schlupp (Riedewald 88'), Andersen, Gallagher. Subs not used: Matthews, Kelly, Wells-Morrison, Rak-Sakyi.

Scorer: Olise 46', Mateta 58'

Booking: T. Mitchell, Butland

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Attendance: 16,646 (1,998)

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