Adrian Mariappa

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Watford downed late by Ajax in preseason friendly

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Watford went toe-to-toe with Champions League semifinalists Ajax for most of the match, but capitulated late as Dutch youth international Jurrien Timber scored an 89th minute winner in a 2-1 win for the Eredivisie side in Austria.

Andre Gray put the Hornets up from the penalty spot six minutes before the break as American youth international Sergino Dest was called for an unlucky handball in the box. Abdoulaye Doucoure danced through the box and as he looked to skip the ball past Dest, it popped up and caught the American’s arm. Gray delivered and put Watford 1-0 up at the break.

The lead would only last until the 51st minute when Dusan Tadic found himself on the ball at the end line on the right, and he cut back to Donny van de Beek through the dummy of Kasper Dolberg on the penalty spot for an easy low finish and a 1-1 scoreline. It would stay that way until one minute to go in regulation as Carel Eiting sent a ball into the box where the 18-year-old Timber lept with his back to goal and clipped the ball off the top of his head for the winner, burying the chance inside the far post.

Both teams featured strong lineups, as Watford ran out stars like Gray, Tom Cleverley, Adrian Mariappa, and former Eredivisie veteran Daryl Janmaat while Nathan Chalobah, Gerard Deulofeu, and Jose Holebas came off the bench. Ajax saw van de Beek, Tadic, Dolberg, and Daley Blind all make the starting lineup.

Next for Watford is a match against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, also taking place in Austria.

Fulham relegated at Watford (video)

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  • Fulham relegated
  • Doucoure, Hughes score beauties
  • Babel scores lone Fulham goal
  • Deeney rounds out Watford scoring

Fulham is headed for the Championship, relegated from the Premier League following a 4-1 loss to Watford at Vicarage Road on Tuesday.

Abdoulaye Doucoure, Will Hughes, Troy Deeney, and Kiko Femenia scored for Watford, who remains 8th and sits a point back of Wolves.

Ryan Babel scored Fulham’s marker, as the Cottagers join Huddersfield Town as clubs relegated to the Championship.

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Doucoure opened the scoring with a smash from 20 yards out, putting the visitors on the brink after just 23 minutes.

But Babel took advantage of a slipping Adrian Mariappa to run onto a Ryan Sessegnon pass. The Dutchman dribbled around Ben Foster to roll in the equalizer.

Watford scored another beauty to confirm Fulham’s demise, Hughes ripping a venomous shot from the edge of the 18. Deeney and Femenia added easy enough goals to confirm Fulham’s fate.

The Cottagers have allowed 76 goals this season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

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Hot Hazard runs Chelsea past Watford

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  • Kabasele stretchered out of stadium
  • Hazard scores in each half
  • Pereyra nets terrific equalizer (video)

Eden Hazard scored a pair of goals to lead Chelsea back up the table in a 2-1 win over Watford at Vicarage Road on Wednesday.

Roberto Pereyra scored a beautiful volley for Watford, but the Hornets will be more concerned with Christian Kabasele. The defender needed to be stretchered from the stadium after sliding into the goal post in a bid to block Hazard’s opener.

Chelsea is back into fourth, two points ahead of Arsenal and four back of Man City, while Watford finishes Boxing Day in the table’s ninth position.

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Willian came near to making it 1-0 when Cesc Fabregas slotted him into the left of the box, and he beat Ben Foster but not the goal post.

Christian Kabasele slid hard into the post and needed plenty of help from the trainers. He tried to gut out a performance, but Adrian Mariappa needed to take his place.

Hazard missed a chance to open the scoring earlier in the half, but made no mistake in stoppage time. The Belgian squared his hips to shoot to the right, then kept dribbling and shot left after Ben Foster committed his body to the feint. Mateo Kovacic set up the goal.

Watford leveled the score within moments, a training ground play when saw Pereyra sneak atop the 18 for a volleyed finish inside the near post.

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Gerard Deulofeu thought he’d won a penalty off David Luiz in the 54th minute, but no whistle came for what appeared to be shoulder-to-shoulder.

Hazard won a penalty off Foster in the 57th, and left no doubt with his conversion.

N'Golo Kante and Troy Deeney missed chances at each end as the game reached its final 10 minutes.

Foster stopped a Willian chance cued up by Marcos Alonso in the 89th, the ensuing corner kick nearly serving the same purpose of a third goal.

Newcastle top Watford, grab long-awaited win

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  • Magpies get first win
  • Watford allows first goal in 3 matches
  • Subs Ki, Perez combine for winner

Ayoze Perez’s second half goal was enough for Newcastle United to win its first Premier League match of the season and emerge from the drop zone with a 1-0 defeat of Watford at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

The Magpies now have six points, while Watford has 19 and sits eighth.

The win avoids the worst start in Newcastle history.

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The opening 10 minutes belonged to Newcastle, but the Magpies couldn’t maneuver inside the final third.

At the other end, Watford then won a series of corners but found Newcastle very willing to block shots and clog lanes.

Newcastle’s Mo Diame dribbled into space and ripped a shot that Ben Foster parried, and Watford dealt with his rebound cross.

Kenedy intercepted a Craig Cathcart pass but saw Adrian Mariappa slide to block his in-tight effort. Watford countered off the ensuing corner, but Gerard Deulofeu missed the far post.

Watford’s 12th attempt was its first on target, as DeAndre Yedlin helped allowed an Isaac Success shot saved by Martin Dubravka.

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The Hornets dealt with two Newcastle chances off a 46th minute free kick, and Matt Ritchie‘s ensuing free kick was blocked only to see the Magpies keep possession.

Roberto Pereyra hit the bar at the other end before Dubravka stopped his rebound effort.

The Magpies, however, broke through off a set piece, Perez nodding a Ki Sung-Yueng free kick past Ben Foster. The under-fire Spaniard plugged his ears in celebration, and it was 1-0 to Newcastle.

Newcastle came close to making it 2-0, but instead nearly lost their lead on a counter attack thanks to a poor pass from left back Paul Dummett.

Hodgson labels Watford mascot “a disgrace” after mocking Zaha

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Ahead of Crystal Palace’s match on Sunday against Watford, Palace boss Roy Hodgson has dug up old dirt on Watford mascot Harry the Hornet, warning the costumed man to behave himself.

The Watford mascot famously fell to the ground in 2016 while walking past Zaha to mock the Palace man who received a yellow card for a dive earlier in the match. The incident occurred after the match and drew a sarcastic clap from Zaha who did not take kindly to the incident.

[ LIVE STREAM: Watford vs. Crystal Palace on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET ]

“Zaha does not dive,” said Hodgson during his pre-match press conference. “If you’re asking me whether Harry the Hornet, who I presume is the mascot, should dive in that way, I think it’s disgraceful, because that’s not what football matches are about. And certainly if it’s provoking the crowd into looking for something that’s not there, it should be stopped.”

At the time, Zaha was asked if there was “an agenda against him” to which the Palace winger responded, “I feel that there totally is.”

“It was definitely a penalty,” Zaha said back in 2016. “I was so shocked when the ref told me it was a dive. What was funny was after the game – even though it makes no difference – was that he [Adrian Mariappa] has actually gone: ‘I’ll be honest, Wilf, it was actually a pen.'”

Then-manager of Palace Sam Allardyce called the incident “out of order” but the club was not punished by the Football Association.