Crystal Palace put their Premier League struggles on hold to earn a place in their first FA Cup semi-final in 21 years by beating Championship side Reading with two late goals.
Palace are without a league win in 2016 but will be at Wembley thanks to a Yohan Cabaye penalty and Fraizer Campbell’s stoppage-time strike.
Reading had frustrated the Eagles before Jake Cooper was sent off for pulling back Yannick Bolasie. Cabaye converted from the spot before Campbell added a second from close range.
Palace boss Alan Pardew – who won promotion with Reading in his first managerial job – saw the tie as a chance for the Eagles to shake off their woeful league form but despite dominating possession and chances they could not find a way past Ali Al-Habsi in the Reading goal before the late penalty.
Reading took Arsenal to extra time in last year’s semi-final but apart from an Ola John header which was well saved by Wayne Hennessey, they rarely threatened a repeat visit and were indebted to a string of fine saves from Al-Habsi.
He kept out Mile Jedinak’s powerful header and two Cabaye free-kicks as the tie looked set for a replay, before the goalkeeper almost stopped the penalty awarded by referee Mike Dean for slight contact from Cooper as Bolasie chased a ball into the box.