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Sporting Watford striker 'could cry' with joy

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Troy Deeney, whose goal ensured the English Championship side are one win away from Premier League qualification, empathises with Leicester, who they beat in the semi-finals of the second-tier competition.

Hull City rode the emotions of despair and joy before achieving their place in the English Premier League last weekend, and the side they edged out to achieve automatic promotion, Watford, went through the same levels of drama in the space of 20 seconds on Sunday to keep their own aspirations of elevation alive.

While Hull claimed the second of two automatic promotion spots on the final day of the regular season in the Championship, Watford, who finished in third place, had to enter the end-of-season play-offs, where they were up against sixth-place Leicester City in their semi-final.

Leicester had won the first leg 1-0 on Thursday, but Watford had hit back to lead 2-1 in yesterday’s second leg at Vicarage Road as the game went into stoppage time and headed towards extra time with the sides level on aggregate score.

Leicester won a penalty in the fifth minute of time added on and Watford were staring defeat in the face as Anthony Knockaert lined up the spot kick.

But Watford goalkeeper Manuel Almunia saved Knockaerts’s weak effort, the loose ball was cleared and suddenly it was Watford charging forward like a basketball fast break into the Leicester penalty area at the other end.

The ball found its way to Troy Deeney, who fired home from 12 yards to start scenes of pandemonium as the forward shredded his shirt and jumped into the crowd to celebrate while a pitch invasion occurred.

He told Sky Sports: “I could cry. It’s heartbreaking, I feel for their guy who missed the penalty. It’s a ruthless game and I’m happy we’re the ones celebrating.”

Watford will find out their opponents in the play-off final, to be played at Wembley Stadium on May 27, today as Brighton and Hove Albion take on Crystal Palace in the second leg, with the first leg on Friday having ended goalless.