Crystal Palace Edge Past Watford

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar May 6, 2016 16:18


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Crystal Palace Edge Past Watford

By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (April 24th 2016)



Despite denials that speculation over the future over Watford manager Quique Sánchez Flores had affected the players, the Hornets were below par, especially in the first half. “Well they had a faster start than us”, Waford’s Northern Ireland international Craig Cathcart said. “They came out of the box quick and maybe we were a bit taken aback by that, but when you concede an early goal from set-piece, you’re always going to be up against it, but we fought our way back into the game and we gave it all. It just wasn’t meant to be”.


Congolese international Yannick Bolasie gave Crystal Palace the lead after 6 minutes. “I just think we just showed from the start”, Jason Puncheon said. “I sort of felt from the first five minutes, I thought we was on at everyone and I thought we had that 8 out of 10 today from everyone and that helps when you play like that and that showed in our performance.

Watford drew level after 55 minutes through skipper Troy Deeney, but six minutes later Connor Wickham restored Crystal Palace’s lead. Alan Pardew’s team will face Manchester United – a repeat of the 1990 FA Cup Final.

“I think we’ve only lost one in four or something like that and so for us, that’s been great momentum leading up to this game and today we showed the confidence to see out games and obviously bounce back because Watford scored at a time when they had control of the game but that’s part of the semi-final, you know”, Yannick Bolasie said. “They’re going to have control of the game at one stage. It’s not just going to be you dominating the game”.



Yohan Cabaye’s corner was headed on by Damien Delaney to Bolasie. The Democratic Republic of Congo international headed in at very close range at far post. “I got told to cover the back post and I’m not going to let anything come out and you know the ball’s dropped onto my head and I’ve scored”, Bolasie said.


Both he and Wilfried Zaha were impressive – fact acknowledged by Puncheon. “I think [Bolasie’s] definitely important you know, but again you saw Wilfried today”, he said. “He was unbelievable, unplayable. He does a run up the pitch like Bale. He scores probably one of the best goals we’ve seen”.

Watford suffered a loss of creativity when Etienne Capoue had to be stretchered off after half an hour. His replacement Mario Suárez didn’t pose the same threat.



The Eagles were denied a penalty when Bolasie’s cross struck Nathan Aké’s hand. Referee Craig Pawson waved play on – it was hard to see what Aké could have done as they were close to each other. Another penalty appeal was turned down when Wickham and Miguel Britos tangled in the area.

Less than ten minutes into the second half Scott Dann was booked for fouling Nigerian international Odion Ighalo. A corner was won from the resulting free-kick. It mirrored Bolasie’s goal as Jurado’s corner was headed on by Ben Watson for Deeney to score with a header.


Six minutes later Senegalese international Papa Soare’s cross was headed in by Wickham, who beat Aké in the air. Wickham’s goal was the winner. Three minutes later Dann and Ighalo both went in with a foot up. Dann caught Ighalo, but was not cautioned. With ten minutes left Deeney set up Ighalo, but the Nigerian’s goal-scoring touch has deserted him. He failed to test the keeper.

“Yeah, not happy, but we worked hard to get to this stage and hopefully thinking of playing in the final”, Ighalo said. “Not really happy but this is football. What can you do? You know, we give our best. Maybe our best is not enough, so we just want to look to the league games. [T]his is my first time [at Wembley] and I like it and I enjoy every moment of it, so it’s a memory that will last for long in my life, but I really want to play in the final, but that will not happen now. Thank God, I’m going to keep going”.


Emmanuel Adebayor replaced Wickham after 86 minutes. He set up Zaha a minute later, but Zaha’s shot hit the side-netting. Delaney’s scrambled clearance fell to Adlene Guedioura. Deeney avoided deflecting it and with that Watford’s hopes of returning to Wembley in May departed.

When the disappointment fades Cathcart has the consolation of the Euros – the first time his team will participate in a major tournament for thirty years, but it’s too soon. “No, not really”, he said on whether that provided consolation. “Like you say I’ll be disappointed for the next few weeks, looking back. You have to pick yourself up. It happens in football. Like you said it’s something to look forward to after the season ends, but you just want to go into the next few games and try and win every game you can until the end of the season and then I can look forward to obviously going away to France”.


Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar May 6, 2016 16:18