Crystal Palace heaped further misery on relegation-threatened Watford on Wednesday night, with Wilfried Zaha netting a brace in the final five minutes as his side secured an impressive 4-1 victory.
Palace got off to a strong start courtesy of a Jean-Philippe Mateta strike after an quarter of an hour, but the Hornets soon hit back through Moussa Sissoko. Conor Gallagher then restored the visitors’ advantage on the stroke of half time, before Zaha made sure of the victory late on.
After a fairly even start Palace scored a fortunate opener through Mateta. Somehow Gallagher’s cross made it all the way through to the Eagles striker and he was handed a second slice of luck when his shot on the turn was deflected past Ben Foster.
It took just three minutes for Watford to hit back though, with Sissoko rising high in the box to head home Kiko Femenia’s corner at the front post.
Chances were at a premium in the rest of the first half and it took a moment of magic from Gallagher to edge Palace back in front. Just before half time the Chelsea loanee took down Tyrick Mitchell’s cross sumptuously before smashing the ball into the roof of the net. He now has eight goals for the season, more than any player has managed at his parent club.
In the second half Watford spurned several decent chance, with Emmanuel Dennis’ failure to convert from very close range leaving Hornets fans particularly perplexed.
They were made to regret this lack of clinical edge too when Zaha stole the show with a brace in the closing stages. First the Ivorian controlled Jordan Ayew’s cross and leathered it home, before he put the icing on the cake by finishing off a swift counter-attack in the 90th minute.
The result leaves the Hornets’ marooned in the relegation zone with Burnley’s 1-0 win over Tottenham moving them above Roy Hodgson’s side into 18th place. Meanwhile, Palace’s three points sees them leapfrog Leicester City and Aston Villa into 11th.
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