Crystal Palace climbed out of the relegation zone for the first time this season with a fantastic late comeback to beat Watford 2-1 at Selhurst Park.

By 90Min
December 12, 2017

Crystal Palace climbed out of the relegation zone for the first time this season with a fantastic late comeback to beat Watford 2-1 at Selhurst Park on Tuesday.

Scott Dann captained the side in place of the injured Mamadou Sakho, whilst Julian Speroni made his 400th appearance for the club.

Marco Silva changed his system to a 3-4-3, bringing in Sebastian Prodl and Jose Holebas for Roberto Pereyra and Marvin Zeegelaar - who was sent off against Burnley for a two footed lunge on Steven Defour.

Watford came out the blocks in their usual quick fashion and snatched an early lead in the third minute - Richarlison was afforded far too much time down the left and his cross to the back post was headed in by Daryl Janmaat to make it 1-0.

The Hornets remained the far better side for the rest of the first-half, although Janmaat's defensive duties were called upon to bravely head clear a cross from the leaping Christian Benteke.

A baffling piece of play on the half hour mark resulted in one of the misses of the season so far. Yohan Cabaye went to pass the ball, took his eye off it and instead took a swipe at the air, with his standing foot playing the ball straight to Richarlison. 

The Brazilian duly obliged and charged up the left wing, delivered a delightful drilled low ball across the goal only for Troy Deeney to spurn the opportunity wide of the post when it seemed easier to score.

Deeney's blushes were partially saved when replays showed that Scott Dann got a toe on the ball to divert its direction away from the striker - at least he saw the funny side.

Wilfried Zaha was growing increasingly incensed by Lee Mason's reluctance to award him fouls and the crowd were starting to get on the referee's back too - culminating when he refused to award Zaha a penalty late in the first-half and Benteke a spot kick early in the second.

The second-half started very quietly but Watford should have extended their lead again in the 65th minute as it was the polar opposite of their first goal - Janmaat found Richarlison in acres of space at the back post but this time, Julian Speroni was equal to his shot to parry it away.

They were almost made to pay for squandering their chances ten minutes later as a Bakary Sako cross resulted in a goal mouth scramble. Palace kept pressing and Zaha almost bent a superb effort into the top corner with eight minutes left.

Tom Cleverley made the final few minutes a little more nervy than they would have liked when he received a second yellow card for cynically bringing down Jeffrey Schlupp.

And the 10 men paid the price, the unlikely scorer Bakary Sako with an equalizer that wouldn't look out of place in a pinball machine with only a minute to spare. His first shot was saved by Heurelho Gomes and the rebound then deflected off his shin.

Six minutes were added on much to the excitement of the Palace faithful - and they were bouncing once again three minutes later. 

Wilfried Zaha beat Janmaat and Kiko Fermenia who doubled up on him and cut the ball back for substitute James McCarthur to sweep home and complete the comeback.

To rub salt in the wounds, Watford fans will be worrying over the extent of their star man's injury as Richarlison was forced off late into the game.

Watford will be bitterly disappointed to come away from Selhurst Park with nothing after losing at Turf Moor on Saturday - two games they would have been looking at six points from.

Palace on the other hand are now out of the bottom three for the first time this season as they continue to prove that they might just have enough to stay up after all.

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