Defender slots home expertly in EPL relegation battle
Adrian Mariappa slotted home a bizarre own goal for relegation-threatened English Premier League (EPL) outfit Watford, who drew 1-1 at fellow strugglers Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday (8 February).
The 33-year-old Jamaican international right-back slotted home with 12 minutes remaining on the south coast, gifting the hosts an undeserved equaliser.
Watford manager Nigel Pearson, whose side took a deserved 19th-minute lead through Abdoulaye Doucoure, went ballistic when the Reggae Boyz’ stalwart scored despite not being under pressure
Pearson slammed down his water bottle in the technical area and let rip with expletive rage as his side allowed their poor opponents back with this bizarre own goal.
Mariappa, who struggled to nail down a regular first-team spot earlier in the season under forrmer Spanish managers Javi Gracia and Quique Sanchez Flores, has been part of the club’s renaissance under Pearson.
Yet Watford had surprisingly stuttered in their previous two EPL games, losing to Aston Villa and Everton, but seemed to be in cruise control at the Amex after Doucoure – who notched an own goal when the sides met earlier this term – broke the deadlock with a vicious shot.
Pearson’s troops were in command, although fluffed chances to kill off the contest, and then disaster struck. Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s cross from the right wing was calamitously turned into the roof of Mariappa’s own net to leave the no.6 hanging his head in shame and disbelief.
With Watford foced to share the spoils in a one-sided match, the London-based club remain in the bottom three.
Should Watford drop out of the top flight and into the Championship at the end of the season, then these dropped two points from Mariappa’s error will be deemed to have proved extremely costly.
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