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Watford 1-0 Middlesbrough: Craig Cathcart gives Hornets opening win

Watford 1-0 Middlesbrough: Craig Cathcart gives Hornets opening win
Craig Cathcart’s headed winner was his first goal since January 2019

Watford marked their first game back in the Championship with a hard-fought victory over Middlesbrough on the opening night of the new league season.

Defender Craig Cathcart scored the winner after 11 minutes, heading past Boro goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.

The Hornets, relegated from the Premier League last season and now under new boss Vladimir Ivic, should have gone 2-0 up but Joao Pedro sent a header wide.

Britt Assombalonga went closest for Boro, having a free-kick tipped over.

Neil Warnock’s side saw plenty of the ball but failed to seriously test Ben Foster in the Watford goal, with even captain Assombalonga’s effort from 20 yards only drawing a relatively straightforward save.

Foster kept out another Assombalonga shot with his feet, while Grant Hall wasted their only other clear sight of goal, sending a close-range effort over the bar from a corner.

At the other end, chances were also few and far between for Watford, who were without a host of players through injury – including Gerard Deulofeu, Danny Welbeck and Troy Deeney.

Line-ups

Watford

  • 1Foster
  • 3Ngakia
  • 15Cathcart
  • 27Kabasele
  • 6WilmotBooked at 85mins
  • 21FemeníaSubstituted forNavarroat 75′minutes
  • 20QuinaSubstituted forPhilipsat 90′minutes
  • 8Cleverley
  • 14Chalobah
  • 12SemaSubstituted forMurrayat 66′minutes
  • 10João Pedro

Substitutes

  • 17Murray
  • 26Bachmann
  • 31Sierralta
  • 32Navarro
  • 33Pussetto
  • 34Sinclair
  • 52Philips

Middlesbrough

  • 1Bettinelli
  • 2Dijksteel
  • 4Hall
  • 17McNair
  • 29Spence
  • 16Howson
  • 22SavilleSubstituted forWingat 78′minutes
  • 7Tavernier
  • 3Johnson
  • 11Fletcher
  • 9Assombalonga

Substitutes

  • 6Fry
  • 8Wing
  • 12Browne
  • 15Wood
  • 27Bola
  • 33Coulson
  • 42Pears

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