MATCH REPORT: Watford 3-1 FC Union Berlin
The Golden Boys kicked off their pre-season camp in Austria with a good performance and a 3-1 win over German side FC Union Berlin.
Étienne Capoue, Troy Deeney and Steven Berghuis got the goals for the Hornets, after second-half substitute Maximilian Thiel had given Berlin a glimmer of hope with a good finish after 71 minutes to make it 2-1.
The match also saw non-competitive debuts for new signings Juan Camilo Zúñiga and Christian Kabasele, while Craig Cathcart and Sebastian Prödl made their returns after this summer's Euros, in what was a good run-out against their Bundesliga 2 opponents.
Watford began the game with Giedrius Arlauskis in goal, protected by a back-three of Allan Nyom, the returning Prödl and Miguel Britos on the left of the three defenders.
Mario Suárez sat just in-front of the defence, with Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure slightly advanced and Almen Abdi and Ikechi Anya beginning as right and left wing-back respectively.
This left regular front-two Deeney and Odion Ighalo to provide the attacking threat in Mazzarri's preferred 3-5-2 formation.
Both Valon Behrami and Obbi Oularé missed out after being granted paternity leave, with both players expected to re-join the Hornets later in the week.
On a lovely evening in Austria, both teams started the match in a frantic fashion and it was Berlin who registered the first shot on target after 11 minutes, but Kenny Prince Redondo's tame effort was easy for Arlauskis to gather.
The first goal of the match wasn't far away, however, with the Hornets taking the lead two minutes later. A couple of trademark Ighalo scoops resulted in the Nigerian's low cross finding its way to Capoue on the edge of the area. The Frenchman made no mistake as he fired powerfully, via a slight deflection, past opposition keeper Daniel Mesenhöler.
That goal appeared to settle any nerves Mazzarri's men might have, and the lead was nearly doubled after 25 minutes. More good play from Ighalo this time left him with just Mesenhöler to beat, but the German keeper did well to stay big and block his effort.
The Germans did threaten as the half headed towards its conclusion, with first Prödl forced into an excellent late challenge on Berlin's Nikci with the wide-man posted to shoot, before Arlauskis did well to claw away a looping goalbound header.
However, Berlin's resistance was once again breached on the stroke of half-time as the Hornets doubled their lead via the penalty spot. Doucoure was the man adjudged to have been fouled as he made a late dash into the penalty-area, and captain Deeney made no mistake as he confidently stepped up to dispatch the resulting penalty and send the Hornets in 2-0 up at the break.
The Hornets made two changes at the break, with Cathcart taking the place of Britos at the back to make his first appearance of pre-season after his successful European Championships campaign with Northern Ireland, while Heurelho Gomes replaced Arlauskis in goal.
The changes didn't appear to halt the Hornets' momentum though, with Abdi and Doucoure linking up superbly on the right-flank to present Capoue with another goalscoring chance, but the Frenchman's effort was well blocked on this occasion.
Deeney then had a chance to extend the lead further, but his weak effort was comfortably gathered by Mesenhöler in the Berlin goal.
As the match reached the 60-minute mark, Mazzarri made a number of changes to his side, with both Kabasele and Zúñiga coming on to make their non-competitive Watford debuts.
It was Berlin who struck next, however, with the Germans finding a way back into the game after 71 minutes. Substitute Thiel was first to react to a lose ball in the Watford penalty-area and the midfielder made no mistake as he emphatically slammed the ball past Gomes from close-range.
With the game seemingly heading towards a nervy finish, it was put to bed in the 86th minute thanks to substitute Berghuis. Fellow sub Jose Holebas made good ground down the left-flank before cutting the ball back to Berghuis on the edge of the area, and the Dutch international made no mistake with a powerful finish into the bottom corner.
Gomes was forced into a late save to preserve the lead in what was a good performance and result during the Hornets' opening pre-season game in Austria.
HORNETS: Arlauskis (GK) (Gomes, HT); Nyom (Kabasele, 60), Prödl (Rowan, 73), Britos (Cathcart, HT); Abdi (Holebas, 60), Suarez (Watson, 60), Capoue (Sinclair, 70), Doucoure (Berghuis, 70), Anya (Zuniga, 70); Deeney (c) (Amrabat, 70), Ighalo (Vydra, 70).
BERLIN: Mesenhöler (GK); Puncic, Kessel, Brandy, Nikçi, Redondo, Kroos, Leuz, Zejnullahu, Parensen,