Watford: who boasts of four Nigerians Emmanuel Dennis, William Troost-Ekong, Oghenekaro Etebo and Samuel Kalu in their ranks, knew an immediate return to the Championship was mathematically certain if they failed to pick up maximum points at Selhurst Park after a painful late defeat to Burnley the previous time out.
Palace, who had gone six games without losing at home, was always a tough test for the Hornets, and the hosts dominated the opening exchanges, with Marc Guehi and Michael Olise heading clear chances over the bar.
Zaha gives Eagles the lead
As the first half progressed, the Eagles continued to dominate and were gifted a great opportunity to score at the half-hour mark when Hassane Kamara was deemed to have handled in the box.
Wilfried Zaha took the penalty and calmly dispatched Ben Foster to score his 13th Premier League goal of the season.
Palace sought to extend their lead before half-time, but Guehi’s powerful header was excellently stopped by Foster, ensuring Watford made it to the break without going further behind.
The visitors needed a strong response in the second half to avoid relegation, but it was Palace who came closest to changing the scoreline, with Odsonne Edouard’s crisp shot being saved by Foster.
Kamara’s red seals Watford’s Premier League exit
Watford’s uphill climb was made all the more difficult when Kamara fouled Olise for his second booking of the game with just over 20 minutes remaining.
Armed with the numerical advantage, Palace threatened to extend their lead late on through substitute Jean-Philippe Mateta, but Foster again came to the visitors’ rescue with a smart save.
Defeat relegates Watford to the Championship, as they sit 12 points adrift of 17th-placed Leeds United with just three matches remaining.