Post by Football News on Mar 31, 2018 19:38:50 GMT
Watford 2-2 Bournemouth
Eddie Howe was full of praise for “razor-sharp” Jermain Defoe after the veteran striker came off the bench to score a stoppage-time equaliser for Bournemouth. Roberto Pereyra’s strike early in the second half looked as though it would be enough to secure victory for Watford but Defoe struck late on.
Kiko Femenía had put Javi Gracia’s side ahead only for Bournemouth to equalise before half-time through Joshua King’s penalty. Pereyra put Watford back in front shortly after the interval but Defoe turned home Nathan Aké’s flick-on in the closing stages to rescue a point for the Cherries.
Defoe has been used sparingly by Howe in recent weeks following his recovery from an ankle injury but the Bournemouth manager still believes in the 35-year-old England international. “It was a massive goal from Jermain and a massive point for us,” he said.
“It didn’t look like it was going to happen for us in the second half, if I’m honest, but the character shone out – the never-say-die attitude – and we only needed one chance. It fell to the right person. There is no one you want that to fall to other than Jermain, he a massive player for us.
“He’s got that ability to put himself in positions, he’s razor‑sharp as he’s always been in that respect. It was a finish of high class and, at that stage of the game, absolutely priceless for us.”
Aké came close to opening the scoring in the early stages but the former Watford loanee turned his close-range diving header against the crossbar.
Junior Stanislas, scorer of the late winner against West Bromwich Albion before the international break, had Bournemouth’s next chance, forcing a smart save from Orestis Karnezis with a curling effort.
Watford broke the deadlock after 13 minutes when Femenía was picked out unmarked from a corner, his shot beating Asmir Begovic courtesy of a deflection off King. It was the Spaniard’s first goal for the club.
Bournemouth were struggling to create chances of note but were level before the break after the assistant referee did well to spot a José Holebas handball in the box. Andrew Madley pointed to the spot and booked Holebas after the defender pushed the ball clear following Karnezis’s save from Stanislas.
Watford went ahead once more after Pereyra tucked home following good work from the impressive Will Hughes but Gracia was ultimately left frustrated when Defoe struck his late equaliser.
“I can be disappointed with the result because we have lost two points in extra time but I feel proud of my players, the team and the squad,” he said.
“We had twice been up on the scoresheet but the other team score in extra time. We need to improve many things but today I think we had different chances to score more goals.”
Locked together in mid-table, both sides could reach the 40-point mark with victories on Saturday, when Watford are at home to Burnley and Bournemouth host struggling Crystal Palace.
But neither manager would be drawn on whether respective wins would mean they were safe from relegation.
“We have 37 points and I don’t know how many points you will need at the end of the season to remain in the Premier League,” Gracia said.
“Maybe this will be enough, but never mind about the points, I focus on the next three points and how to get them.”
Howe concurred with his counterpart, adding: “With six games to go we just want to get as many points as possible.”