West Brom 1 Watford 1
A moment of genius was how Ismaila Sarr’s Beckham-esque goal was described as the striker went from hero to villain at The Hawthorns.
Sarr scored with a 60-yard chip from just inside his own half in a goal reminiscent of then Manchester United midfielder David Beckham, the strike that helped launch him to stardom in 1996.
The 24-year-old later squandered a penalty after Karlan Grant rewarded overwhelming West Brom pressure with an equaliser on the stroke of half-time. But Sarr’s opening goal in the 12th minute is what most people in the ground will remember for years to come.
“Just seeing it and his quality, it was a moment of genius really,” said Watford coach Rob Edwards. “It was a great bit of technique and vision – whenever you see a goal like that, it’s special. I wasn’t surprised though because he’s super talented. I didn’t see it coming but when he started lining up for it, I thought ‘here we go’. As soon as it left his foot, I thought ‘it’s in’. It was an amazing goal.”
On Sarr’s missed penalty, Edwards said: “He was the reason why we got a point. He scored a goal from nothing and was brave enough to take the penalty; it didn’t go in but we probably didn’t deserve it.”
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 8, 2022
West Brom manager Steve Bruce said he was torn between credit for Sarr and criticism for goakeeper David Button. “Like everybody in the ground, did I want to applaud it or look at my goalkeeper, thinking ‘where are you?’!” said Bruce.
“It’s a wonderful piece of skill by a very good player. I think he looked to see where my goalkeeper was and executed it. We’ve seen those a few times – as a manager I remember Rooney scoring one against West Ham, and Beckham – but I can’t remember one like that against me. And I don’t want another one either!
“But the way we responded was the pleasing thing – and my goalkeeper. It wasn’t easy for him, but he didn’t get nervous. He probably thought he wasn’t deep enough. But he didn’t panic, and he saved a penalty in the last 15 minutes or so which gave us a point.”
West Brom dominated, with Grant missing three chances and the Watford goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann also denying John Swift and Conor Townsend. But Bruce admitted he might have to dip into the transfer market after losing £7 million striker Daryl Dike with a thigh injury in training.