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Watford 1 Swansea City 0: Ighalo gets Watford up and running

Odion Ighalo’s second-half strike ended Watford’s goal-drought and their winless start to the Premier League season as they downed Swansea City 1-0 at Vicarage Road.

Quique Sanchez Flores’ men had not managed to find the net since their opening-day draw at Everton and rarely troubled the high-flying visitors during a lacklustre first half.

Ighalo, however, struck on the hour and the home side managed to hang on for the victory despite losing Valon Behrami to a straight red card within five minutes of taking the lead.

Swansea’s best chances fell to top scorer Bafetimbi Gomis, but he was ultimately unable to find the goal that would have seen him equal the record for scoring five times in the opening five games of a Premier League season.

Loan recruit Victor Ibarbo was named on the bench for the hosts having received his international clearance, but fellow newcomer Obbi Oulare was not deemed fit enough to feature and defender Miguel Britos missed out through suspension.

Swansea, meanwhile, fielded an unchanged side from that which started the win over Manchester United, with in-form winger Jefferson Montero recovering sufficiently from his thigh problem to take a place on the bench.

A low-key opening to the game produced little in terms of goalmouth action, although Watford did threaten on a couple of occasions as Sebastian Prodl fired over and Almen Abdi saw his goalbound effort deflected wide by Neil Taylor.

Home goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes then did well to keep out a low drive from Gomis after 21 minutes and Troy Deeney saw his 20-yard strike fizz narrowly wide moments later.

Those missed chances failed to ignite the contest, which remained cagey right through to the break, though Watford did at least manage to get an effort on target for the first time in over two hours of play when Ighalo forced a smart stop from Lukasz Fabianski just before the break.

Fabianski then made a regulation save from the lively Abdi early in the second half, but just short of the hour mark, the home side’s goalscoring woes finally came to an end.

And the goal itself could hardly have been simpler, a long ball into the box from Gomes was nodded on by Deeney and Ighalo calmly found the net from close range.

The game took another twist soon after as Behrami’s apparent stamp on Andre Ayew earned him a red card, forcing Watford to negotiate the final quarter with only 10 men. 

But negotiate it they did and the men in yellow could in fact have won by a more emphatic margin, Fabianski doing well to keep out a well-struck effort from former Tottenham midfielder Etienne Capoue.

The result brought Swansea’s unbeaten start to the campaign to an end and they will look to bounce back at home to Everton next week, while Watford will make the long trip to Newcastle United in buoyant mood.

Sat 12 Sep, 2015
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