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2018/19 English FA Cup, Quarterfinals
  • Étienne Capoue (27')
  • Andre Gray (79')
  • Michy Batshuayi (62')

Watford beat Crystal Palace to seal FA Cup semifinal place

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Super sub Gray sends Watford into FA Cup semis (1:21)

Andre Gray made an instant impact off the bench as Watford edged past Crystal Palace 2-1 in Saturday's first FA Cup quarterfinal. (1:21)

Watford reached their second FA Cup semifinal in four seasons as substitute Andre Gray scored three minutes after coming on to seal a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Etienne Capoue sidefooted Watford ahead in the 27th minute at a blustery Vicarage Road as the hosts had the better of the first half, but Palace responded after the break.

Michy Batshuayi punished a defensive lapse to equalise for Roy Hodgson's side just past the hour mark, and Palace looked to have the upper hand moving into the closing stages.

But it was Watford who secured a last-four date at Wembley when Gray, who had replaced Will Hughes, volleyed a 79th-minute winner to send their fans home dreaming of a second FA Cup final appearance after they lost the 1984 showpiece.

They had to survive a late scare, though, when Palace's Aaron Wan-Bissaka drilled a low shot wide after a defensive blunder.

Watford keeper Heurelho Gomes was called into action early on when he saved Luka Milivojevic's shot, but opposite number Vincente Guaita was busier.

Guaita saved well from Gerard Deulofeu but was at fault soon afterwards when a Jose Holebas corner left him in no man's land and Craig Cathcart prodded the ball back for Capoue to finish.

But Palace, without the injured Wilfried Zaha, improved after the break and Watford began to look jittery. In the 62nd minute, Adrian Mariappa dithered and was dispossessed by Batshuayi, who advanced before shooting past Gomes.

Roared on by their vocal travelling support, Palace looked likely to inflict more FA Cup heartbreak on Watford, who they beat in the semifinal three years ago -- but they were stopped in their tracks as boss Roy Hodgson suffered a third quarterfinal defeat.

In a rare Watford attack Roberto Pereyra's superb pass picked out Gray's run and the striker got just enough on his stretching volley to guide the ball past Guaita and seal a hat trick of 2-1 wins for the Hornets over Palace this season.

A tearful Gomes was given an emotional ovation at the end of what could be his final appearance at Vicarage Road.

The 38-year-old has only played in the FA Cup this season, with Ben Foster first choice in the league, and said afterwards he was "99.9 percent" certain to retire to become a pastor when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Gracia said Watford had "suffered" in the second half but added: "We are ambitious. We want to achieve the final -- that is our target."