Watford’s Ismaïla Sarr strikes again to deny winless Newcastle

Steve Bruce was left to lament missed chances after Ismaïla Sarr’s equaliser denied Newcastle their first league win of the season with a 1-1 draw at Watford.

The Magpies, who went into the game with just two points, saw Sean Longstaff’s curled strike give them the lead midway through the first half. However, Watford levelled the contest when Sarr found himself unmarked to nod home at the far post in the 72nd minute.

The Hornets thought they had a winner three minutes from time when Joshua King slotted the ball past Karl Darlow in the Newcastle goal but VAR ruled the goal out for offside.

Asked for his post-match thoughts, Bruce said: “Pretty painful, huge frustration. We’ve played well again, created enough chances to win three games really in the big league and there’s always that threat that they’ll score from a set piece.

“[It’s] deeply frustrating but I’ve got to take the positives again, we played well again.”

Newcastle looked on course for their first win of the season, finishing with 19 shots – five of which were on target – but were unable to add to their lead. Despite the performance, Bruce said he will not consider that his side have turned a corner until they secure a coveted victory.

He continued: “You need to get a win to turn the corner, but I thought we’ve played well against Leeds. For an hour against Man U I thought we played very well, large parts against Aston Villa …

[But] you need to get a win, that’s the only way you can turn a corner.”

Newcastle players celebrate Sean Longstaff’s opener.
Newcastle players celebrate Sean Longstaff’s opener. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images/Reuters

Bruce’s side scored in the 23rd minute, when the ball was played to Longstaff from Allan Saint-Maximin, before he curled a shot from 20 yards past Ben Foster’s outstretched hands and into a top corner.

Just before the break, Newcastle had an ideal opportunity to double their advantage when Saint-Maximin was played through for a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. He tried to round Foster but the defence were able to get back, and although he found Longstaff the goalscorer fired over the bar. Bruce said of this and his side’s other openings: “It’s a shame we didn’t take the chances that came our way.”

Watford found the equaliser in the 72nd minute. Miguel Almirón gave away a needless corner which was flicked on by King to the back post, where Sarr was unmarked and able to head the ball past Darlow.

The game had all the markers of a hard-fought relegation battle with Jarred Gillett awarding seven yellow cards on his first Premier League game in charge. However, Xisco Munoz wants more bite from his Watford side.

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The Spanish manager said: “The first thing is that I’m a little bit disappointed about the performance, I think our team is more ready to have a consistent game, more solid in defence, more aggressive in offence.

“I think that was not our best first half but in the second half we tried to win the game – but I need this ambition for all of the game, not just 20 minutes.

“I think we can’t give very important chances to the opponent because in the Premier League sometimes you lose like this.”


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