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Cardiff City vs Watford. Premier League.

Cardiff City StadiumAttendance30,387.

Cardiff City 1

  • S Bamba (82nd minute)

Watford 5

  • G Deulofeu (18th minute, 61st minute, 63rd minute)
  • T Deeney (73rd minute, 91st minute)

Cardiff 1-5 Watford: Gerard Deulofeu hat-trick, Troy Deeney send Hornets seventh

Report and highlights as Watford hit the 40-point mark

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Watch highlights of Watford's 5-1 Premier League win at Cardiff

A Gerard Deulofeu hat-trick and a Troy Deeney double lifted Watford into seventh in the Premier League table after the visitors' 5-1 win at Cardiff on Friday night.

Deulofeu opened the scoring in the 18th minute in a first half where Cardiff felt they should have had a penalty when Josh Murphy went down in the box under a strong challenge from Daryl Janmaat (42).

Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure (hidden) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mates during the Premier League match at the Cardiff City Stadium, 22 February 2019
Image: Watford hit five past Cardiff, moving the Hornets up to seventh in the table

The former Barcelona forward grabbed his second with a composed finish in the 61st minute, before he completed a hat-trick two minutes later after coolly lofting the ball over goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.

Deeney made it four with a simple tap-in (73) before Sol Bamba scored a consolation eight minutes later. And in added time, Deeney scored Watford's fifth to complete a magnificent victory.

The result means Watford move up into seventh while Cardiff remain 17th and just a point above the relegation zone.

Player ratings

Cardiff: Etheridge (5), Morrison (4), Manga (4), Bamba (4), Paterson (5), Bacuna (5), Ralls (5), Bennett (4), Arter (4), Murphy (5), Niasse (4)

Subs: Hoilett (6), Mendez-Laing (4), Zohore (4)

Watford: Foster (7), Janmaat (6), Mariappa (6), Cathcart (6), Masina (6), Doucoure (7), Capoue (7), Hughes (7), Pereyra (7), Deeney (9), Deulofeu (10)

Subs: Quina (5), Cleverley (N/A), Gray (N/A)

Man of the match: Gerard Deulofeu

After a slow start, Cardiff came closest to taking the lead in the 15th minute when Oumar Niasse tried to lob Ben Foster from close range, but the 35-year-old goalkeeper sprinted off his line and blocked the first shot before quickly punching away the loose ball to prevent a rebound.

Three minutes later and Watford took the lead through Deulofeu. Deeney bundled past Sean Morrison and Joe Bennett before teeing up the Spaniard to stroke the ball into the bottom corner.

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Team news

Sean Morrison, Leandro Bacuna and Josh Murphy came in for Lee Peltier, Aron Gunnarsson and Bobby Reid in the Cardiff side.

Adam Masina and Roberto Pereyra took the places of suspended Jose Holebas and Ken Sema in the Watford starting XI.

The flashpoint of the half arrived three minutes from half-time when Murphy was wiped out by Janmaat in the box, but referee Simon Hooper did not feel the late sliding tackle merited a spot-kick.

The second half began in scrappy fashion as Cardiff pushed for an equaliser, but Deulofeu scored his second of the night just after the hour mark. A poor free-kick from Bennett was headed straight out to the Spaniard, who ran from the halfway line and rounded Etheridge to double the visitors' lead.

Within a couple of minutes, Deulofeu had doubled his entire goal tally for the season in just one game. A sloppy Harry Arter pass was intercepted by Etienne Capoue, whose incisive pass was dinked into the bottom corner by Deulofeu for his hat-trick.

Deulofeu turned provider 10 minutes later as he broke free into the box and squared to Deeney for a simple tap-in.

Gerard Deulofeu of Watford beats Neil Etheridge of Cardiff City as he scores his team's thrd goal during the Premier League match between Cardiff City and Watford FC at Cardiff City Stadium on February 22, 2019 in Cardiff, United Kingdom
Image: Gerard Deulofeu dinked in his third goal

Bamba scored a consolation in the 81st minute as he stabbed in from close range following a goalmouth scramble, before Deeney made it five with a tidy finish in added time.

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  • Gerard Deulofeu became the first Watford player to score a top-flight hat-trick since Mark Falco in October 1986.
  • Cardiff manager Neil Warnock has lost his last four home league matches against Watford by an aggregate score of 16-2, with this his 16th league defeat against the Hornets - only against Reading (16) has he lost as many league matches as a manager.
  • Watford scored five goals in a top-flight match for the first time since winning 5-1 against Leicester City in November 1986.
  • Watford's Gerard Deulofeu has had a hand in seven goals in his last three Premier League appearances against Cardiff City (5 goals, 2 assists).
  • Gerard Deulofeu became only the third player to score a Premier League hat-trick on a Friday, after Dean Windass (Bradford v Derby, April 2000) and Thierry Henry (Arsenal v Liverpool and Leeds in April 2004).
  • Troy Deeney's first seven Premier League assists were all for Odion Ighalo - since then, his nine assists have been for eight different players (Capoue twice, Kabasele, Niang, Richarlison, Doucoure, Gray, Sema and Deulofeu).
  • Cardiff have conceded 28 home Premier League goals this season - more than any other side.
  • All four Premier League hat-tricks scored in Wales have been scored by players for English teams - Luis Suarez vs Cardiff (Liverpool, 2014), Riyad Mahrez vs Swansea (Leicester, 2015), Jermain Defoe vs Swansea (Sunderland, 2016) and Deulofeu tonight for Watford.

The managers

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Cardiff's Neil Warnock says he's 'never seen his players like that' after they were denied a penalty in their 5-1 loss to Watford

Neil Warnock: "We got mauled in the end. It looks bad in the paper.s I have never seen the players like that at half-time.

"Everyone was talking about the penalty that hasn't been given. Nobody can understand it. Decisions like that change the game. I can't understand why it wasn't given it's a blatant penalty.

"It's no excuse for conceding five but everyone in the game knows it changes things. The referee is in a great position so I just can't understand it. If you can't give decisions like that at this level you shouldn't be refereeing."

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Javi Gracia says he was more impressed by Gerard Deulofeu's assist after his hat-trick than his goals in Watford's 5-1 win at Cardiff

Javi Gracia: "It was a very good performance. To win here is not easy. To win like we did today was outstanding. I am very proud of all my players.

"Playing away we are getting good results. We knew it would be a hard game. They changed their shape and they tried to do more compact and defend better but we found the spaces and scored different goals - in counter-attack and in possession."

Man of the Match - Gerard Deulofeu

Gerard Deulofeu opens the scoring for Watford against Cardiff
Image: Deulofeu opened the scoring for Watford

Deulofeu produced his best display in a Watford shirt as he scored a hat-trick and followed it up with an assist as Cardiff were simply unable to cope with his pace.

He was clinical in front of goal and Watford fans will hope he can produce more of the same as the Hertfordshire club continue their pursuit for seventh place.

What's next?

Cardiff host Everton on Tuesday night for a 7.45pm kick-off. Watford, meanwhile, travel up to Merseyside to face Liverpool on Wednesday.

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