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Greece’s Holebas sees Watford to Middlesbrough win


Middlesbrough (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Holebas’s powerful strike saw Watford to a 1-0 win away to Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Sunday.

Victory saw Watford climb to ninth in the table but the result condemned northeast side Middlesbrough to a fourth defeat in five league matches.

Greece international Holebas’s goal was a rare highlight in a largely uninspiring contest where referee Roger East turned down several penalty appeals of varying merit at the Riverside Stadium.

“I’m very satisfied because we won an away game in such a difficult stadium,” Watford manager Walter Mazzari told the BBC. 

“I’m mainly (satisfied) with the character of the team but I’m less satisfied on the overall performance.”

He added: “In the first half we were allowing too much on the right side and in the second half we managed to make some modifications and stopped them attacking on the right side and we’re happy about this.

“I’m happy. It’s going very well. We could’ve had one or two points more at this stage. We’ve been playing all the games well with the exception of Burnley away.”

Disappointed Boro boss Aitor Karanka added: “We played the first 35 minutes really good and I told them at half-time we couldn’t play the way they were playing in the last 10-15 minutes. The second half we couldn’t play. 

“Had we scored the chances we created at the beginning of the game maybe we’d have won the game. 

“When they scored it was impossible to play. They’re really experienced players. We need to learn and keep going. The only way we know how to play is the way we played the first 35 minutes.”

Middlesbrough had the greater share of possession in the first half but rarely threatened the Hornets’ goal.

Stewart Downing fired a third-minute half-volley over the crossbar and Gaston Ramirez dragged a shot wide.

Middlesbrough’s Alvaro Negredo had a penalty appeal rejected as he went down under the combined challenge of Younes Kaboul and Nordin Amrabat, who was fortunate to escape sanction for grabbing his opponent’s shirt.

Moments later, Boro had a far less convincing penalty shout when Downing headed against Amrabat’s arm from point-blank range before firing the rebound wide of goal.

Boro defender Ben Gibson tried his luck with a 35-yard shot but the match was still goalless come half-time.

The home side appealed unsuccessfully for a penalty early in the second half when Negredo went to ground following a challenge by Holebas.

At the other end of the pitch, Holebas gave Watford the lead in some style when, having latched onto Marten de Roon’s clearance, he smashed a fierce shot high into the top corner and beyond stunned goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

Ramirez had another penalty appeal turned down after falling to the turf following a clash with Miguel Britos eight minutes later, and in the closing stages it was Watford who almost grabbed the game’s second goal when a shot from Isaac Success was saved by Valdes.

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