Sarr, keen for a quick response, broke into a trademark sprint on the right, and his cross did enough to win a corner. Minutes later Emmanuel Dennis’ brilliant free-kick threatened the Palace goal, dipping over the wall and forcing an impressive save from goalkeeper Vicente Guaita. Cucho Hernández’s header from the following corner came close again, bouncing off the post.
With the game at Selhurst Park serving as the final warm-up before the Premier League kicks off next weekend, there was no sign of the all-change approach to personnel at half-time. The first substitution didn’t take place until the 63rd minute. New signing Juraj Kucka entered the fray alongside Kiko Femenia, with the Slovakian looking to make an immediate impression, having signed on Friday evening. Ken Sema dropped into left-back, allowing Kucka to play in his usual midfield role.
The home side doubled their lead eight minutes into the second half, through Zaha again. Luka Milivojevic provided for the winger, who dribbled past Ngakia and curled a shot which deflected in off of William Troost-Ekong.
Jean-Phillipe Mateta then found space behind the Watford backline and looked likely to extend his side’s lead, but Bachmann quickly darted off his line to stop the Frenchman.
For Watford, Hernández made a mazy run into the final third and looked dangerous as he dribbled past Marc Guehi and fired a testing shot which forced Guaita into action. Crystal Palace responded; substitute Benteke’s cross trickled out to Reece Hannam, whose shot went just wide.