English Premiership

Ighalo strike gets Watford up, running

2015-09-12 19:53
soccer ball (File)

Watford - Odion Ighalo scored the only goal of the game against Swansea on Saturday to earn 10-man Watford their first win at the fifth attempt since promotion to the English top flight.

The Nigeria international celebrated signing a new five-year contract on Friday when sweeping home in the 59th minute after keeper Heurelho Gomes' long punt up field with Troy Deeney's headed knockdown setting up unmarked Ighalo to finish the move in style.

Seconds earlier the 26-year-old striker who joined the Hornets from Udinese in 2014 had gone close only to shoot wide from six yards.

The precious 1-0 victory over the previously unbeaten Swansea lifted Watford from 17th to 12th, above the likes of champions Chelsea, fellow newcomers Bournemouth and Tottenham.

Watford's afternoon wasn't all plain sailing as they had to play the closing 25 minutes a man down after Swiss midfielder Valon Behrami's reckless studs-up challenge on Andre Ayew above the knee earning him a straight red card.

Victor Ibarbo, who arrived on a season-long loan from Roma on deadline day, received international clearance and was named on the Watford bench by Quique Sanchez Flores.

Swansea manager Garry Monk fielded his strongest side with Jonjo Shelvey, fresh from his England call-up, marshalling the midfield, and Wayne Routledge preferred to Jefferson Montero.

In-form Swansea's best chance of the game came when Bafetimbi Gomis, who had scored in each of their opening four games, had a shot denied by Gomes before the half-hour point.

Gomis had gone close with an acrobatic volley in first-half injury time.

In a lively encounter Watford's Etienne Capoue forced Swansea keeper Lukasz Fabianski into action on a number of occasions, including in the 80th minute with a dangerous angled attempt.

Swansea's first defeat of the campaign saw Monk's side slip two places to sixth.

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