Carling Cup: narrow Palace win leaves Cardiff tie on a knife edge

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Crystal Palace’s 1-0 victory over Cardiff in their Carling Cup semi-final first leg means the Eagles are within touching distance of the Wembley final – but the hard work is still to be done.

Anthony Gardner’s header just before half-time means the Eagles will take a slim advantage into the second leg in Cardiff.

Speaking to BBC Sport after the win, Palace boss Dougie Freedman said: “It might be the crucial goal.

“We have a team set up to win away from home. We’ll go there quietly confident and it’ll be a very interesting game.”

While Freedman is confident of getting a result on the road, Palace’s away record this season hasn’t been spectacular.

It’s not exactly dreadful – they have the eighth best away record in the Championship – but with five defeats in their last eight away games in all competitions they are far from guaranteed to progress.

The lack of certainly about Palace’s progression can be seen by the fact their odds have only been cut from 11/1 to win the competition to 9/1 following their win over Cardiff.

However, those odds won’t be vastly different if they do get to the final with either Manchester City or Liverpool waiting for them.

Meanwhile, Cardiff have drifted to 11/1 to win the Carling Cup but look more than capable of getting the result they need in the Welsh capital to keep that dream alive.

The Bluebirds have lost just one of their previous 14 games at the Cardiff City Stadium, drawing two of them, and they too will fancy their chances.

Cardiff need a win to at least force extra-time though and everything is set up for the second leg to be an extremely tight affair.

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