- Cabaye gave Palace lead
- Benteke has PK saved
- Deeney equalizes with PK
Watford and Crystal Palace played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road on Monday as they kicked off the Boxing Day festivities in the Premier League.
In his first game in charge of Palace, Sam Allardyce‘s side started brightly and went ahead via Yohan Cabaye but then Christian Benteke missed a penalty kick before half time. In the second half Watford had no problems converting from the spot as captain Troy Deeney scored his landmark 100th goal for the Hornets.
With the point Watford moves on to 22 points for the season, while Palace moves on to 16 points in their battle against relegation.
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Early on Daryl Janmaat had to go off injured at right wing back and was replaced by Juan Zuniga and then inside the opening 15 minutes Valron Behrami also had to come off through injury and Troy Deeney came on.
Palace looked the more dangerous side early on with Wilfried Zaha lively on the left flank. Cabaye then went close as Benteke’s mazy run saw the ball fall to him but it went wide.
Moments later Cabaye made no mistake as a surging run from Andros Townsend teed up the Frenchman and he tucked home the first goal of the Allardyce era into the far post. 1-0 to Palace.
Before half time Palace had a glorious chance to go 2-0 up as Benteke was brought down in the box by Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes and a penalty kick was awarded but Gomes wasn’t shown a red card. Benteke stepped up with his trademark slow run up but Gomes guessed the right way and easily stopped his PK.
A golden opportunity wasted for Palace.
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In the second half Watford improve, drastically, with Odion Ighalo dragging an effort wide and Palace looking increasingly shaky in defense as Allardyce chomped on his chewing gum in an increasingly rigorous manner on the sidelines. Zuniga then skied an effort over as Watford continued to push for an equalizer.
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Palace were well-organized, as you’d expect under Allardyce, but then a moment of madness from Damien Delaney handed Watford a penalty kick.
Delaney pushed Sebastian Prodl in the box and Deeney then stepped up and smashed home the penalty kick to score his 100th goal for Watford after being stuck on 99 since October. 1-1.
In the final stages Watford had the momentum and pushed hard to go ahead with Ighalo flicking a header towards goal and Adlene Guedioura forcing Wayne Hennessey into a save, but Palace held on and grabbed a point in Allardyce’s first game in charge.