Anthony Gardner's header proved to be the difference, and indeed the only goal, in Tuesday night's Carling Cup semi-final first leg clash with Cardiff which Palace won 1-0.
As expected Cardiff came at the Eagles straight from kick-off, pressuring the Palace goal but to no avail as Julian Speroni proved it would take more than just a virus to see him beaten between the sticks, the Argentine easily keeping Joe Ralls' effort out of the net.
Cardiff came close again with Ben Turner, but he could do little but send his header over the bar from a Peter Whittingham corner.
At the other end it was Palace's turn to attack and some neat build-up play saw KG's shot on goal from midway inside the Cardiff penalty area saved by Tom Heaton.
Kenny Miller then struck a curled shot from the left of Speroni's 18-yard-box, almost grazing the 'keeper's far post as it went wide for a goal kick.
In the 43rd minute Palace took the lead through Gardner's headed effort. A cross in from the left from Darren Ambrose met Mile Jedinak, who headed the ball on for Gardner to nod into the back of the net.
In the second half Cardiff looked to have pulled one back through Miller's header, though referee Mike Dean adjudged Joe Mason to have fouled Speroni - a decision that Cardiff Boss Malky Mackay is more than a little unhappy with.
Two Ambrose free-kicks sailed over the bar - one looking far more convincing an effort than the other - and a late Cardiff surge could do nothing to change the score as Palace go into the second leg a goal to the good.
After the game Freedman told reporters: "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.
"I'm very pleased with performance on such a wonderful occasion," said the Doog.
"A lot of questions were asked of us from Cardiff because they are a good team but I felt on tonight's performances we deserved the narrow 1-0 victory.
"Nathaniel Clyne [is] still packed up in bed, Mile Jedinak and Paddy McCarthy are pretty much miracles to have played tonight, because they haven't trained at all and there were concerns as the game went on, but the character they showed was second to none.
"I feel that we were very unlucky in our preparation. We had to patch up a couple of players and get them out there. Mile Jedinak and Paddy McCarthy were real heroes tonight because they were on their sick-beds so full credit for them to answering the question that Cardiff asked of our character.
"I decided to look them in the eye and ask them if they were prepared to put their bodies on the line for the club and the answer was a convincing yes. Nathaniel Clyne couldn't make it tonight, he couldn't get out of his bed to come here so that was an easy decision. With such a big game I had to take that risk."
"Cardiff started and ended very well, but overall we defended fantastically well and we have some exciting players up top that can get you a goal."
On Gardner's goal: "I look for my defenders to defend. If I'm going to give Anthony Gardner a pat on the back it's for his defending. Julian Speroni is simply the best goalkeepers in this division and that allows Anthony Gardner, Paddy McCarthy and Peter Ramage to defend the way they did tonight. That allows your Darren Ambrose, Glenn Murray, Wilfried Zaha to get the headlines. I look at Anthony Gardner and thought - solid as a rock. That's why he'll get my man of the match, not for his goal."
Praising the old heads amongst a young Palace side: "I've been there in the darkest days of this club in administration. Paddy McCarthy and Darren Ambrose when they didn't get paid for months and had ten points taken off them, they can't get lower than they've been. Anything to them is a bonus and their enthusiasm to keep playing for this club spreads to the youngsters. Whatever comes their way they deserve."
There is still at least 90 minutes of football left to play in South Wales, should Dougie's boys win or draw on the 24th of January Palace will be playing in the League Cup final at Wembley.
Click here for BBC video of Dougie's post-match comment - a particular highlight "Cardiff is a different place to Manchester, these are passionate fans..."