Crystal Palace




Edo Kayembe’s second-half strike couldn’t help deliver a share of the spoils in Watford’s friendly clash at the Copers Cope training ground, as two Odsonne Édouard goals earned Crystal Palace a narrow 2-1 victory.

The Hornets went into half-time the happier of the two sides, with Imrân Louza, Vakoun Bayo and Ryan Porteous all going close to breaking the deadlock, while a stern defensive performance continually frustrated Roy Hodgson’s men.

Half-time introduction Édouard soon turned the tide the way of the Premier League outfit, with a goal nine minutes after the restart, and although Kayembe brought the scores back level the former hit back with what ultimately proved to be the winner.

It was a competitive start in South London, and the Hornets dominated possession in the opening stages – with the hosts struggling to clear their lines on multiple occasions – without creating any real clear-cut chances to threaten Sam Johnstone’s goal.

Palace gradually gained a foothold in the game, and a teasing Tyrick Mitchell cross had to be dealt with by skipper-for-the-day Daniel Bachmann close to the 10-minute mark, but the first big opportunity fell the way of the visitors.

A slick team move in the 13th minute culminated in Tom Dele-Bashiru slipping Louza in through on goal, and after Johnstone did well to deny the Morocco international one-on-one, he then pulled off an impressive double save to stop both Bayo and Porteous heading in the opener from the resultant corner.

A string of heavy challenges in and around the centre circle eventually saw Wesley Hoedt become the first player to go into the book, before James Morris did well to turn a neat Jean-Philippe Mateta ball out and away from danger near the back post.

Mateta was again at the centre of a home push forward on the half-hour mark, but Hoedt was on hand to stop the Frenchman in his tracks, and then at the other end Dele-Bashiru and Bayo both shot off target.

With little under 10 minutes to go until half-time, Porteous and Francisco Sierralta simultaneously rose highest to quell the threat posed by deep Palace crosses, and then Eberechi Eze worked his way into space only to be pulled back for offside.

Hoedt went down with an injury scare within the first few minutes of the second period, though thankfully managed to shake the knock off, and after restarting brightly Palace took the lead when Édouard capitalised on a loose pass and slotted past Bachmann.

The Eagles immediately went on the lookout for a second, and a looping Joachim Andersen header flashed across goal and past Bachmann’s right post, but a feast of changes on the hour mark re-energised the Golden Boys and replacement Kayembe duly equalised from the edge of the box in the 68th minute.

Hoedt did well to prevent Cheick Doucouré getting a shot off from point-blank range, with a crunching challenge 20 minutes from the end, but moments later it was indeed 2-1 to the home side when sub Édouard notched his second of the afternoon from 18 yards.

Samuel Kalu, Yáser Asprilla and Shaq Forde all came off the bench with little under 10 minutes to go, and contributed to a strong Watford finish, but Palace held on to prevail at the referee’s final whistle.


Crystal Palace

Starting XI: Johnstone (GK) (Matthews HT), Clyne (Ward 77’), Tomkins (O’Brien 80’), Andersen (C) (Richards 60’), Mitchell, Doucouré (Hughes 77’), Lerma (Schlupp 60’), Ahamada (Riedewald 80’), Eze (Gordon 86’), Ayew (Rak-Sakyi 77’), Mateta (Édouard HT)

Goals: Édouard (54’, 75’)


Starting XI: Bachmann (GK, C) (Hamer 60’), Ngakia (Andrews 60’), Porteous (Pollock 60’), Hoedt, Morris (Ferreira 60’), Sierralta (Kayembe 60’), Louza (Forde 77’), Dele-Bashiru (Livermore 60’), Martins (Asprilla 77’), Sema (Kalu 77’), Bayo (Healey 60’)

Sub not used: Roberts (GK)

Goal: Kayembe (68’)

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