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FA Cup: Gray strikes late to send Watford into the semi-finals

Anre Gray

Second-half substitute Andre Gray scored two minutes after coming on to send Watford into the FA Cup semi-finals with victory over Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets had earlier led through Etienne Capoue's instinctive finish before Michy Batshuayi levelled for the Eagles, finishing coolly after dispossessing Adrian Mariappa.

But soon after after replacing Will Hughes, Gray fired past Vincente Guaita to send his club into only their sixth FA Cup semi-final.

After retaking the lead the hosts looked the more likely side to score as Troy Deeney saw an effort well saved and Aaron Wan-Bissaka made a crucial intervention to keep out Gerard Deulofeu in the closing stages.

Javi Gracia's Watford have now beaten Palace three times this season, having done the double over them in the Premier League.

Deulofeu stars as Gracia's changes prove fruitful

Javi Gracia prepared for Saturday's quarter-final by resting seven players for their league game at Manchester City last weekend.

While it may have cost them their best chance of upsetting City at the Etihad, Gracia's decision proved fruitful with the Spaniard and his team now having an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley to prepare for.

Deulofeu, who netted against City, was their main threat throughout, his livewire running and trickery a constant thorn in the Eagles' side.

It was the Spanish forward who tested Vincente Guaita in the Palace goal first, wriggling his way into space before firing off a powerful shot as the hosts dominated the opening exchanges.

The Eagles keeper, making his FA Cup debut, was put under pressure throughout the first half and he had already flapped at several crosses before the Hornets took the lead through Capoue.

However, he soon made amends by tipping another vicious strike from Deulofeu over the bar, before denying the ex-Everton and Barcelona player again, saving his goal-bound free-kick.

Palace's intensity dropped in the second half and they were made to pay when Batshuayi levelled on the hour mark.

But after that they regained control and Gray netted their winner shortly after coming on - finishing with aplomb after Pereyra had found him in space in the middle of the box.

An emotional Heurelho Gomes led the full-time celebrations at Vicarage Road, with the 38-year-old goalkeeper, who is set to retire at the end of the season, perhaps eyeing one last hurrah.

More to follow.

Line-ups

Watford

  • 1Gomes
  • 21Femenía
  • 6Mariappa
  • 15Cathcart
  • 25HolebasSubstituted forMasinaat 45'minutesBooked at 57mins
  • 16Doucouré
  • 29Capoue
  • 19HughesSubstituted forGrayat 77'minutes
  • 37Pereyra
  • 9Deeney
  • 7DeulofeuSubstituted forCleverleyat 89'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Janmaat
  • 8Cleverley
  • 10Success
  • 11Masina
  • 18Gray
  • 27Kabasele
  • 30Dahlberg

Crystal Palace

  • 31Guaita
  • 29Wan-Bissaka
  • 5Tomkins
  • 34Kelly
  • 15Schlupp
  • 8Kouyaté
  • 4MilivojevicBooked at 36mins
  • 18McArthurSubstituted forBentekeat 84'minutes
  • 7Meyer
  • 10Townsend
  • 23Batshuayi

Substitutes

  • 2Ward
  • 13Hennessey
  • 14J Ayew
  • 17Benteke
  • 21Wickham
  • 35Woods
  • 44Riedewald
Referee:
Kevin Friend

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamCrystal Palace
Possession
Home43%
Away57%
Shots
Home11
Away13
Shots on Target
Home8
Away5
Corners
Home8
Away4
Fouls
Home11
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Watford 2, Crystal Palace 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Watford 2, Crystal Palace 1.

Attempt missed. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left.

Offside, Watford. Etienne Capoue tries a through ball, but Andre Gray is caught offside.

Attempt missed. James Tomkins (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left following a corner.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Adam Masina.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Tom Cleverley replaces Gerard Deulofeu.

Attempt blocked. Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Andros Townsend.

James Tomkins (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Andre Gray (Watford).

Attempt blocked. Craig Cathcart (Watford) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Gerard Deulofeu with a cross.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Christian Benteke.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Christian Benteke.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Vicente Guaita.

Attempt saved. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Roberto Pereyra.

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Christian Benteke replaces James McArthur.

Foul by Jeffrey Schlupp (Crystal Palace).

Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford).

Goal!

Goal! Watford 2, Crystal Palace 1. Andre Gray (Watford) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Roberto Pereyra with a through ball.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Andre Gray replaces Will Hughes.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Roberto Pereyra.

Attempt saved. Roberto Pereyra (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner.

Attempt missed. Max Meyer (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Michy Batshuayi.

Foul by Cheikhou Kouyaté (Crystal Palace).

Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Troy Deeney.

James McArthur (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Roberto Pereyra (Watford).

Goal!

Goal! Watford 1, Crystal Palace 1. Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner.

Attempt missed. Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jeffrey Schlupp.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Heurelho Gomes.

Attempt saved. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from long range on the right is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Booking

Adam Masina (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Max Meyer (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.

goal

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