Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling end Watford’s 100 per cent start

Watford were unable to extend their 100 per cent start to the season, as Manchester United left Vicarage Road with a 2-1 win.

football Updated: Sep 16, 2018 00:20 IST
Romelu Lukaku,Chris Smalling,Watford
Manchester United's English defender Chris Smalling celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Manchester United.(AFP)

Manchester United produced arguably their most complete performance of the season as they beat Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road to end their hosts’ 100 per cent start to the campaign.

A defeat for United would have seen them suffer three losses in their opening five Premier League games for the first time, but they picked up where they left off against Burnley prior to the international break, professionally dealing with an in-form Watford side.

Although the hosts initially looked bright, United finished the first half utterly dominant and 2-0 up thanks to Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling, whose goals were three minutes and 11 seconds apart.

Watford at least made things interesting with a 65th-minute Andre Gray strike, but United dug deep and fended off the home side’s late advances to seal the points despite Nemanja Matic’s red card deep into stoppage time.

Confidence appeared to be flowing through Watford early on and they went close to the opener through Troy Deeney, but David de Gea was United’s saviour, tipping the striker’s effort over.

United did manage to settle, however, and ultimately capitalised on De Gea’s heroics with two quickfire goals late in the half.

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Lukaku bundled in the first when latching on to Ashley Young’s deflected cross 10 minutes from the break, before Marouane Fellaini headed a corner back into the danger zone and Smalling smashed home.

United were not quite so dominant after the restart and Watford found a foothold which ultimately allowed them to reduce the arrears – Gray finding the top-right corner from Abdoulaye Doucoure’s cut-back.

Unfortunately for Watford, that goal was not the start of a famous turnaround, and United clung on to a second consecutive victory after Matic received a second caution, De Gea denying Christian Kabasele from the resulting free-kick.

First Published: Sep 16, 2018 00:20 IST