Hull City 2 Watford 0: Ten-man hosts claim priceless win in relegation fight

Arindam Rej

Ten-man Hull City carried on manager Marco Silva’s stunning home run, as they struck two second-half goals following a hugely controversial red card for Oumar Niasse, to stay out of the relegation zone. The Senegalese striker was dismissed midway through the first half by referee Bobby Madley, after an innocuous challenge on M’Baye Niang, then Hull produced a remarkable display of resilience despite being a man light, as Lazar Markovic and Sam Clucas scored. 

The emotions in the stadium were jolted dramatically in little over half an hour. Referee Madley had walked into the tunnel at half-time with fans animatedly pointing and shouting at him, as anger and bitterness filled the air. The mood was rapturous though when Markovic finished off a quick counter-attack to put them ahead and then the crowd was left stunned as Clucas added another goal with a sumptuous strike that killed off mid-table Watford. 

It meant that Silva bagged his sixth home win in seven league games since he took charge - with the other match ending in a draw. This result also took the heat off Madley’s decision. 

Niasse had been dismissed for a one-footed challenge, which caught the shin of Niang, the winger on loan from AC Milan. The impact was minimal and Niasse was left wide-eyed in shock at the sight of a red card while Silva, normally calm, ranted to the fourth official. The response from the home players was, in many ways, exemplary though - as they ended up easing to a win. 

It was a different story at start of the game when Hull looked nervous at times - with some misunderstandings between Harry Maguire and goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic. Aside from a wayward Clucas shot for Hull, neither side was creating much though. 

Hull 1 - 0 Watford (Lazar Markovic, 62 min)

The home side were already showing frustration at the officials, before the red card, with midfielder Ahmed Elmohamady sarcastically making a glasses gesture at one stage. 

Hull’s complaints did not help them as they soon suffered the harsh sending off. Having been reduced to ten men, they hung on through until half-time, with Watford twice coming close with headers from corners. The first was a Sebastian Prodl effort, pushed over agilely by Jakupovic, then unmarked Miguel Britos headed wide. 

There was more frustration for Hull just before the break as they had a penalty appears turned down when Kamil Grosicki appeared to be caught by Nordin Amrabat. 

Hull 2 - 0 Watford (Sam Clucas, 71 min)

Everything changed after the break though. Silva brought on Abel Hernandez, for Evandro at half-time, and - meaning there was a new focal point going forward and a way to stretch Watford - and Hull also battled hard to stay level. Jakupovic again came to the rescue, saving with his feet to deny Troy Deeney.  

A breakthrough goal eventually came from a brisk counter-attack as Grosicki burst forward and crossed from the right flank for Markovic, who headed against the bar. The ball bounced down - and it was unclear if it had crossed the line - but Markovic raced forward and smashed it in to make sure.  

Rather than sit back, confident Hull pushed forward and added to their lead, with Clucas striking into the top right-hand corner from 30 yards. 

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