Crystal Palace defeated Watford 1-0 at Wembley yesterday to win the Championship play-off final and promotion to the Premier League. T
he first half was a tight affair, as the two teams looked to be feeling each other out.
The two league encounters between the two sides produced nine goals, but this clash was always going to be a close one.
The first real action of the game came in the 33rd minute, as Watford star Matej Vydra shot towards goal, only for Palace defender Damian Delaney to block the effort.
The Czech youngster sustained a heavy knock in the challenge and had to be replaced at half-time by Spanish striker Alex Geijo. Palace striker Aaron Wilbraham looked to be in on-goal in the 60th minute before Watford defenders got back to block his effort on goal.
On 65 minutes, Hornets keeper Manuel Almunia produced a superb save from substitute Stuart O’Keefe’s powerful effort. The Spaniard then smothered at the feet of Aaron Wilbraham from the resulting corner-kick.
Palace midfielder Owen Garvan fired wide on 72 minutes. The Irish midfielder was denied again on 80 minutes by Almunia. The Watford keeper also caught a Mile Jedinak header in stoppage-time. Watford started the brighter in the second half and Julian Speroni dived at the feet at Troy Deeney to deny the striker a tap-in.
The Palace keeper also denied Watford’s Cristian Battochio, whose 25-yard effort looked to be heading in. The only goal of the game arrived in the 105th minute. Wilfried Zaha was brought down by Italian defender Marco Cassetti in the penalty area and veteran striker Kevin Phillips fired high into Almunia’s net from the spot.
Watford looked to hit back and Palace defender Joel Ward cleared a Fernando Forestieri effort off the line. Palace held on and will be back in the Premier League next season after an eight years absence.
Did Crystal Palace deserve to win the play-off final?
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It's been great seeing Messi and Neymar play together. Hopefully they'
Genius starts with "G" and finishes with "S"...................... So
Lets hope these two greats of the game get a chance to play to gather.
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