Palace, Norwich pay the price for rotation in League Cup
LONDON (AP) — Premier League teams Crystal Palace and Norwich paid the price for heavily rotating their lineups for the second round of the English League Cup as they were eliminated by fourth-tier opponents on Tuesday.
Three days after beating Manchester United at Old Trafford, Palace lost 5-4 on penalties to Colchester — a team sitting 85 places down the English soccer pyramid — after a 0-0 draw in 90 minutes.
Norwich rested its top players like Teemu Pukki, the scorer of five goals in three Premier League games this season, and lost 1-0 at Crawley Town.
Other top-flight clubs weren’t harmed by fielding their fringe players.
Aston Villa thrashed fourth-tier Crewe 6-1, Watford ended a seven-game losing streak by beating third-tier Coventry 3-0, and Glenn Murray’s injury-time strike earned Brighton a 2-1 win at Bristol Rovers of the third tier.
Lower-ranked teams in the Premier League often choose to use the domestic cup competitions — the League Cup and the FA Cup — to give second-string players in their big squads some game time. Elimination isn’t necessarily regarded as such a bad thing, given that it frees up space in the schedule to focus on staying in the lucrative Premier League.
Top-flight teams playing in either the Champions League or Europa League this season don’t enter the League Cup until the third round.