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Palace wins match, loses two players for season

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Crystal Palace has a pall cast over its 2-1 win over Southampton on Tuesday, as the club has been dealt a serious blow with season-ending injuries to two players.

Scott Dann and Jason Puncheon, longtime servants of the club, have both suffered cruciate ligament injuries and manager Roy Hodgson says either could miss the start of next season, too.

[ RECAP: Saints 1-2 Palace ]

Puncheon 31, lost his starting spot after 10 matches but has 161 caps for the Eagles, while Dann, 30, has captained the club 10 times this season.

Here’s Hodgson on whether Palace will be active in the transfer market, knowing full well the Eagles saved their season with January additions of Mamadou Sakho and Luka Milivojevic last season (not simply hiring Sam Allardyce, believe it or not). From the BBC:

“It’s far too soon to say, we didn’t know until today that Scott had injured a cruciate ligament but the Chairman and Directors are keen to improve our squad to ensure we have what we need. Hopefully our performances have shown that if we get that backing it’ll make us even stronger in this run in.”

Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester United: Jesse Lingard saves 10-man Red Devils in FA Cup final

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A tense, exciting affair at Wembley Stadium saw Manchester United lift the FA Cup by a 2-1 scoreline in extra time as Jesse Lingard saved the Red Devils after Chris Smalling‘s second yellow saw them reduced to 10 men.

Manchester United owned the vast majority of chances, but it never felt like Palace was second-best. There was a controversial moment on 18 minutes as Chris Smalling dragged down Connor Wickham on the break. Wickham got back up, got back on the ball, and moved in on the open goal, but referee Mark Clattenburg had stopped play to give the free-kick rather than playing advantage, which would have given Wickham a one-on-one opportunity.

Juan Mata forced a save of Wayne Hennessey on 22 minutes with a low shot from a tight angle, and a Martial shot minutes later was blocked. Palace then had shouts for a penalty minutes later when Wilfried Zaha snatched the ball from Daley Blind and raced into the box, where he went side-by-side with Wayne Rooney. The two bundled over and the referee whistled for a foul on Zaha.

With the scoreline untouched at halftime, Manchester United continued to pile up the chances after the break. Rashford sprung Fellaini in the box seven minutes into the second half, and the Belgian pumped a shot on goal that cannoned off the corner of the post.

Past the hour mark, the game exploded open. United found themselves unlucky again, as Martial headed off the post at the end of a cross by Antonio Valencia. Marcus Rojo was forced off after a yellow-card tackle by Damien Delaney which probably could have earned him harsher punishment.

On 78 minutes, the deadlock broke as substitute Jason Puncheon remained onside and collected a long ball from Ward over the back line to the far post, and the 29-year-old ripped it past David De Gea from point blank range, causing Pardew to do a little dance.

Manchester United responded immediately. Wayne Rooney carved up the Palace organization into the box and all the way to the end line, and lofted the ball across the box. Fellaini and Mata were waiting, and as Fellaini settled the ball with his chest, it fell to the feet of Mata who rifled it through the legs of Ward, wrong-footing Hennessey as it traveled into the back of the net.

Into extra time the game went, and with seven yellow cards handed out, we finally saw a red. Already on a yellow, Chris Smalling rugby-tackled Yannick Bolasie near the halfway line to prevent a counter, leaving Clattenburg no choice but to send him off.

The trophy was still yet to be won, and a 23-year-old would bring it to Manchester. With extra-time half over and his side a man down, Jesse Lingard punched home the winner. A cross from Valencia was bungled by Martial, but the rebound fell to Lingard who roofed a volley before it hit the ground, a sweet strike that sent the Red Devils through.

A defeated Crystal Palace had nothing left to offer, and Louis Van Gaal lifted the FA Cup, a savory finish to an otherwise bitter season. It’s the club’s first FA Cup since 2004, their 12th FA Cup all-time, tying Arsenal for the most ever in the competition.

WATCH: Alan Pardew celebrates Puncheon’s goal in FA Cup final with sensual dance

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With the FA Cup final scoreless and just 12 minutes to go in regulation, things were getting extremely tense at Wembley Stadium. Manchester United had hit the post twice, and neither team seemed more likely to finish off a chance.

So when substitute Jason Puncheon finally opened the scoring by making a perfectly timed run, latching onto a Joel Ward long ball, and burying it into the back of the net, Alan Pardew had to let off 78 minutes worth of steam.

That apparently involves an attempt at seducing the television viewers with a dance usually saved for after midnight.

Here’s the goal, and you can check out Pardew’s dance moves 1:15 into the video.

On a scale of William Hung to Patrick Swayze, how would you rate Pardew’s dancing skills? Juan Mata wasn’t impressed:

Behind the Badge: Jason Puncheon, Damien Delaney, and Joel Ward talk Crystal Palace

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As part of NBC Sports’ Behind the Badge series that provides an inside look at the Crystal Palace squad, a few players have opened up about their past, their road to Selhurst Park, and their future ambitions.

Defenders Damien Delaney and Joel Ward, and attacker Jason Puncheon, all open up to NBC Sports about their career paths, childhood idols, and much much more.

[ MORE: Watch full Behind the Badge episodes here ]

First up was Delaney, who had an amusing story on how he made his way to Crystal Palace, a moment which came during a crossroads in his life.

Joel Ward opened up about growing up in the church, mixing faith and football, and how it isn’t difficult for him to stay involved while also juggling his professional soccer career.

29-year-old Jason Puncheon, who has over 100 appearances for Palace, talks about growing up in Croydon, England, why Ian Wright was his inspiration and much more.

Crystal Palace 2-1 Aston Villa: Dann the star as Eagles win again

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  • Palace into the Top Four with win
  • Dann with goal, assist for Palace
  • Adama produces Villa’s goal
  • Villa with three points from three matches

Alan Pardew’s thriving Eagles picked up their second win of the year, this time a 2-1 decision over Aston Villa at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Scott Dann scored for Palace, later adding the assist on Bakary Sako’s first Eagles goal.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Palace came close to breaking through several times, on one occasion denied by USMNT keeper Brad Guzan’s sliding save that finished with the American careening into the post with his hip.

The Eagles had a goal pulled back well after it was awarded when a shot that took a turn off James McArthur’s chest and into the goal took plenty of celebratory plaudits before the linesman called it back.

It was Dann who completed the trick with a rising header off a Jason Puncheon corner with 20 minutes to play in South London.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score

Adama Traore helped Villa to an equalizer when he danced around Jason Puncheon and then crossed the ball off Pape Souare, flummoxing Alex McCarthy on its way into the goal.

Perhaps turnabout was fair play when Jordan Amavi gifted the match-winning chance to Palace, with Sako hitting a beautiful strike on debut in the 88th minute.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]