London sides Chelsea and West Ham both reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Sunday as city rivals Tottenham Hotspur were knocked out by fellow capital club Crystal Palace.
Martin Kelly was Palace’s unlikely hero at White Hart Lane as his first goal for the south London side — and first for anyone since he scored 1,545 days previously for Liverpool at Chelsea in November 2011 — on the stroke of half-time proved the difference.
Palace’s reward was a quarter-final away to second-tier Reading, a club once managed by Eagles boss Alan Pardew.
Chelsea, who beat an under-strength Manchester City 5-1 at Stamford Bridge, are away to Everton in a repeat of the 2009 FA Cup final which the Blues won during current caretaker boss Guus Hiddink’s first spell as interim manager.
West Ham, who in Sunday’s opening fifth round tie saw off Championship Blackburn Rovers 5-1, will travel to the winners of Monday’s tie between third-tier Shrewsbury Town and struggling Manchester United.
Meanwhile holders Arsenal, bidding to become the first club to win the FA Cup three years in a row since the 19th Century, must see off Hull in a replay following Saturday’s goalless draw at the Emirates if they are to face Watford in next month’s quarter-finals.
Tottenham, second in the Premier League, had earlier seen Dele Alli twice hit the post with the same shot and this loss ended their hopes of emulating the celebrated League and Cup ‘double’ winning Spurs team of 1960/61.
Pardew, a member of the Eagles’ side that lost the 1990 final and West Ham manager when they lost to Liverpool in the 2006 showpiece match, was delighted by his team’s resilience.
“It was a victory that was well earned on the training ground,” he said. “No-one’s ever won it without a little bit of luck.”
– ‘Playing for England’ –
Reigning Premier League champions Chelsea, a huge 20 points behind shock leaders Leicester, overwhelmed City.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini made good on his promise to field an under-strength side after the FA bowed to demands from broadcasters to move the game from Saturday.
Pellegrini’s side are away to Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Wednesday and then take on Liverpool in the League Cup final a week on Sunday.
“We are forced to do it,” said the Chilean of his team selection. “I think that if we play on Saturday it’s better for us because we have to play for England in the Champions League.”