• Sports - Football - Scores & Fixtures
  • Updated: September 12, 2020

Watford Defeats Middlesbrough In Opening Match Of EFL Championship

Relegated Watford hit the ground running on matchday 1 of the English Football League (EFL) Championship as they defeated Middlesbrough 1-0 to mark their bid of returning to the top flight of English football.

The Hornets were relegated on the final day of last season after five years in England's top flight but they are among the favourites for promotion this term and Craig Cathcart's early goal at Vicarage Road ensured they made a winning start under new Serbian boss Vladimir Ivic.

"It is a good start, a clean sheet and we won the game so we can be satisfied," Ivic said.

READ ALSOEverton Set To Poach Relegated Watford's Midfielder, Abdoulaye Doucoure For £25m

After a close-season break lasting just 38 days, the English Football League returned for a campaign that promises drama and despair in equal measures. 

The coronavirus-delayed finish to last season saw Leeds, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham reach the Premier League after a thrilling promotion race and play-off battle.

With promotion worth an estimated £160 million ($204 million), clubs will be more desperate than ever to go up as football faces up to an uncertain future off the pitch.

Fans are still locked out of stadiums due to the pandemic and some teams are teetering on the edge of financial ruin as a result.

Against that troubled backdrop, Watford was especially keen for a convincing start.

They were without several injured players including Troy Deeney, Ismaila Sarr, and Gerard Deulofeu, but Cathcart opened the scoring as he headed home from Ken Sema's cross from a short corner in the 11th minute.

Neil Warnock remains in charge of Middlesbrough after saving the club from relegation when he took over on a caretaker basis towards the end of last season.

Middlesbrough nearly grabbed an instant equalizer when Ashley Fletcher's deflected shot flashed just past the far post.

But Warnock was left to bemoaning the sloppy winner.

"Sunday League goal, what can you say?" he said.

"I don't expect to concede them at any stage of the season. It is just elementary."

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Oladimeji Balogun
Oladimeji Balogun

Oladimeji Balogun is a graduate of the University of Ilorin where he studied Microbiology, he is a w...

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