Crystal Palace crashed out of the League Cup to Championship side Middlesbrough on Wednesday night, marking a disappointing conclusion to the Eagles’ Carabao Cup hopes.
The 1-0 loss was made even more painful by the subsequent quarterfinal draw, which handed Boro a last-eight matchup at home against League One Burton.
Palace would have been heavily-favoured to defeat the Brewers, and with a potential victory in the quarterfinals, could have secured a spot in the semi-finals at Wembley.
The supposedly smooth route to a brilliant day out at the home of English football was denied by Crystal Palace’s poor performance at the Riverside, where their lethargic first-half display led to an upset defeat.
Roy Hodgson made eight changes to the side that drew Arsenal 2-2 on the weekend; yet despite the wholesale switches, the lineup still included the likes of Max Meyer, Andros Townsend, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka — Premier League quality players who should have been up to the task.
Instead, the Eagles limped to a drab loss in the Northeast and saw their brilliant chances of a match at Wembley dashed.
A home quarterfinal match against the lowest-ranked team left in the League Cup was up for grabs, but Palace must now turn their attention to the FA Cup as their last realistic trophy opportunity.