Silva hails ‘amazing’ Richarlison as late strike rescues Watford
Richarlison is establishing a reputation for high drama, the superhero of stoppage-time for Watford. This was another crucial contribution from the Brazilian for the second successive game, with his equaliser at the death earning Watford a deserved point.
Signed for £11.5 million from Fluminense in August, he delivered the late winner at Swansea City last weekend and popped up again here to finally break West Bromwich Albion’s stubborn resistance five minutes into injury-time. Watford have already beaten Bournemouth, Southampton and Swansea on the road this season and this determined, positive performance hints at a bright future under shrewd head coach Marco Silva.
“I believe nobody in the stadium or watching it would say we didn’t deserve the point. We were 2-0 down but I told our players at half-time if you continue the same way we’ll achieve a good result,” said Silva. “Richarlison is an amazing talent. I told my board I want this player because I believe in him. We never know how he’ll react coming from Brazil. Brazilian players can have problems in another country, but he’s been really good.”
Richarlison’s equaliser ensured another frustrating afternoon for Tony Pulis, who now has only three victories from the last 19 Premier League games.
They had seemed on course for three points after two goals in three minutes. Salomon Rondon squeezed in the first after 18 minutes, his first goal at the Hawthorns since Dec 14. Albion increased their lead when Matt Phillips’s corner came off the head of Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure and, with Heurelho Gomes stranded, Jonny Evans could not miss from close range.
But Watford improved and Doucoure produced a response before halftime, advancing towards the area and capitalising on hesitancy from Evans to find the corner from 18 yards. Game on.
Watford were dominant in the second half, creating problems for a West Brom defence that appeared to have lost all sense of control. Much of the second half was played as though it was the final five minutes, all desperate blocks and hacked clearances.
Etienne Capoue’s deflected shot almost found the bottom corner, while Richarlison headed wide as Watford mounted wave after wave of attacks.
Albion seemed to have survived the pressure and were finally sparked into life in the final 20 minutes, with James McClean, a substitute, testing Gomes after a swift counter-attack.
But Richarlison had the last word again, nodding in Jose Holebas’s freekick at the far post.
Pulis reserved much of his frustration for referee Michael Oliver, pointing to the free-kick that was awarded after what appeared a fair challenge from McClean on Richarlison.
“He plays the ball and he’s nowhere near the player, that’s two games in a row where a decision that has gone against us has cost us,” he said. “In both halves he played a minute over as well. They actually scored in the 95th minute. Little things like that are just going against us, which is disappointing.”
On target again: Richarlison followed his late winner at Swansea with the equaliser yesterday