Wilfried Zaha has revealed that from time to time he will still go back to relive Crystal Palace’s play-off semi-final victory against Brighton from 2012/13. The attacker played a key role in the win, scoring both of Palace’s goals as Ian Holloway’s side struggled on without the injured Glenn Murray up front. Zaha says that the serious knee injury Murray suffered in the first leg of the play-off had shaken him, but said the team had to focus on getting on with the task at hand.
Wilfried Zaha said: “I was distraught. Because I was thinking, ‘this guy’s scored 30 goals, what the hell man?’ At that precise moment, seeing him getting injured was just like, oh my God, what are we gonna do? The show must go on. Let’s gather our thoughts and do what we need to do in the next game.”
Palace managed to eke out a 0-0 draw at home, facing a big task at the AmEx Stadium after a season in which Brighton had dominated the games between the teams. But before that could take place, the away dressing room at the AmEx was, shall we say, tampered with. While a number of his teammates did not exactly hold back in their descriptions of the incident and Holloway was understandably fuming at the time, Zaha insists he did not let it get to him.
Wilfried Zaha added: “What the hell? I didn’t exactly see it, just the smell and stuff. Just bizarre. The gaffer just went crazy. Some of the words he came out with I’d never ever heard before. It didn’t even sway me at all from the game. It was like: we’ve come here to do what we need to do. Let’s get it done.”
With things tight at 0-0 in the second half, Holloway made a decisive substitution with Yannick Bolasie entering the fray. The winger set up Zaha’s first goal, a diving header, before Zaha sealed the win with a stunning goal leading to some wild celebrations from players and fans alike.
Wilfried Zaha said: “Yannick coming on made such a difference. It was unreal. I can remember just staring into the crowd and everyone’s just going crazy. Diving header. A rare diving header. That night was crazy. It felt so good. It felt so good…shutting them up. Scoring that [second] goal, it was just amazing, man. And then the fans were right there. Running and celebrating was just unbelievable man. Believe it or not, I relive that night sometimes. I watch YouTube and try to relive that night sometimes because it was unreal. That excitement man, I couldn’t contain it. It was crazy.”
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