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    Sunderland 0-1 Watford: Ighalo goal secures third win in a row for visitors

    By Alex Easley
    Odion Ighalo's early goal proved to be the winner as Watford won 1-0 at Sunderland.
    Odion Ighalo’s early goal helped Watford to a third successive Premier League win as they beat Sunderland 1-0 at the Stadium of Light.

    Sunderland were stunned by Ighalo’s fourth minute strike and although they improved in the second half, they just could not convert their chances and now remain second from bottom in the league table.

    The game’s only goal came as a result of Allan Nyom driving to the by-line and pulling the ball back for his forward, who outmuscled Coates at the near post and poked home from close range to score for the third consecutive league game.

    The home side began the game in a 3-4-3 formation and struggled to cope with the threat coming from Watford’s wide areas.

    Both of the Hornets’ full-backs caused problems and Nathan Ake almost created a second goal in the ninth minute as he picked out Almen Abdi at the far post, but Patrick van Aanholt made a diving challenge to deny him.

    Soon after, Ighalo turned John O’Shea inside out in the area and looked set to score, but Sebastien Coates got back to scramble his goal bound effort off the line.

    The ball then fell to Abdi who saw his strike blocked before Jose Manuel Jurado followed up with a shot that cannoned off the woodwork and away from danger for Sunderland.

    Sam Allardyce’s men should had equalised in the 18th minute when Yann M’Vila slid a terrific pass through for Fabio Borini but the striker screwed his shot just inches wide of the far post.
    Sunderland's Fabio Borini reacts after missing a chance to equalize.
    The Sunderland manager wasn’t happy with how his team were performing and made a tactical switch midway through the opening period as he took off loanee DeAndre Yedlin and sent on Jack Rodwell, which meant there were now a more orthodox four at the back.

    The change appeared to settle the Black Cats and they began to enjoy more of the ball after that with Borini having another chance to equalise in the 36th minute when Gomes palmed a corner into his path but again he sliced his shot wide.

    The visitors appeared content to sit back and counterattack in the second half with the pace of Ighalo in particular proving a constant threat for the Sunderland backline.

    Adam Johnson and Jermain Defoe were introduced midway through the second period and both breathed fresh life into the Sunderland attack as they continued to push for an equaliser in the closing stages.

    Defoe did have the ball in the net with 15 minutes to go after fellow substitute Johnson slid him in but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside.
    Jermain Defoe lying on the ground after his effort was saved by Heurelho Gomes.
    Coates produced a quite sensational diving tackle on Ighalo when he looked certain to double the lead as Watford broke up the pitch.

    In what was undoubtedly Sunderland’s best chance of the match, van Aanholt picked out Defoe with a simply brilliant cross in the 84th minute but the striker stabbed the ball inches wide of the goal.

    Johnson then missed another opportunity in the closing moments as he shot wide when unmarked at the back post after Duncan Watmore flicked the ball onto the midfielder.

    Victory sees Watford climb up to seventh in the table, while Sunderland remain 19th and now face difficult visits to Chelsea and Manchester City before hosting Liverpool at the end of December.

    TEAMS

    Sunderland: Pantilimon, Yedlin, Jones, O'Shea, Coates, van Aanholt, M'Vila, Toivonen, Borini, Fletcher, Watmore

    Subs: Rodwell, Johnson, Defoe

    Watford: Gomes; Nyom, Cathcart, Britos, Ake; Capoue, Watson; Abdi, Deeney, Jurado; Ighalo

    Subs: Guedioura, Anya


    Man of the Match: Odion Ighalo
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    Item Reviewed: Sunderland 0-1 Watford: Ighalo goal secures third win in a row for visitors Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Alex Easley
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