Watford 1-0 Crystal Palace: Patrick Vieira wait for first win goes on as Eagles knocked out of Carabao Cup

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

No goals, no wins and now no Carabao Cup run; it is safe to say Patrick Vieira’s reign as Crystal Palace boss hasn’t got off to the flying start the Eagles hoped for.

Vieira’s latest setback came here at Vicarage Road as Watford striker Ashley Fletcher struck a late winner on his debut to dump Palace out of the Carabao Cup.

After losing 3-0 to Chelsea on the opening day of the Premier League season, and then drawing with Brentford at the weekend, former Arsenal captain Vieira was hungry to claim his first win as Palace boss.

His team for this second round tie showed that, with Vieira making only four changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Brentford and naming Wilfried Zaha in the starting XI.

But Zaha and his Palace team-mates couldn’t find a way past goalkeeper Ben Foster, who was one of eight Watford changes, and Vieira’s search for a first win - and even a first goal - rumbles on to this weekend’s trip to West Ham.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

During the first-half here, Palace had looked like breaking their duck as they carved out three decent chances that all fell to striker Jean-Philippe Mateta.

With Christian Benteke on the bench, Mateta had been given the opportunity to impress and he almost scored a spectacular goal in the opening 15 minutes.

The 24-year-old somehow won the ball off Watford centre-back William Troost-Ekong after it had been pumped up to him, but his shot was saved by Foster.

Mateta then went close with two headers as the opening 45 minutes ended with a whimper, Watford having failed to have a shot on target.

Clearly unimpressed with the lack of threat his team carried, Watford boss Xisco Munoz brought on striker Emmanuel Dennis for Josh King at the break.

And they almost took the lead five minutes into the half, with Jack Butland making an excellent save to keep out Troost-Ekong’s header from Peter Etebo’s free-kick.

Watford suddenly looked a different side and Dennis was at the heart of their transformation, creating chances for Cucho Hernandez and Fletcher.

At the other end, fellow substitute Benteke was causing problems and Foster needed to get down low to his left to deny him with 15 minutes to go.

The match looked destined to go to penalties but then, four minutes before the end, Fletcher struck by tapping home Cucho’s cross at the back post.

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