Vicarage Road - Troy Deeney's last-minute goal earned
Watford a dramatic 3-1 win over Leicester City on Sunday and a place in the
Championship playoff final with a 3-2 aggregate victory.
Leicester, trailing 2-1 after winning the
first leg 1-0, looked poised to reach the final when they were awarded a
penalty in the 90th minute but Watford goalkeeper Manuel Almunia made a
brilliant double save to deny Anthony Knockaert.
Watford broke quickly upfield and 20
seconds after the penalty save Deeney smashed the ball past Kasper Schmeichel
to put Gianfranco Zola's team within one match of a return to the Premier
"I knew we had at least two minutes to
score a goal but it was still important (to save the penalty)," former
Arsenal ‘keeper Almunia told Sky Sports.
"I was lucky. We put all our efforts
into scoring the last goal - it's unbelievable. It's the kind of game you
always dream of being there and sometimes you're lucky enough to be on the
"We have to enjoy the moment, playing
at Wembley - we won't play many times at Wembley so we have to enjoy it."
Watford, who missed out on automatic
promotion to Hull City on the final day of the regular season, took the lead
after 15 minutes when striker Matej Vydra fired home a brilliant angled volley.
But Leicester struck back four minutes
later, David Nugent heading in a corner from close range.
Watford created more clear-cut chances and
were rewarded after 65 minutes when Czech Vydra exchanged passes with Deeney
and finished calmly.
The match appeared to be heading for extra
time before the dramatic finale and Deeney's goal which ended Leicester's hopes
of returning to the top flight after an absence of nine years.
Brighton and Hove Albion host Crystal
Palace in the second Championship (second tier) playoff semi-final on Monday.
The first leg ended 0-0.
The final is at Wembley on May 27.
Champions Cardiff City and Hull won
automatic promotion to the Premier League.