Pre-Season: Watford 1-1 FC Köln
Watford’s pre-season campaign began with a 1-1 draw against two-time German champions FC Köln in Kitzbuhel.
Andre Gray gave Watford an early lead after some great work from Richarlison, who put it on a plate for the forward at the far post, only for 'the Billy Goats' to hit back just after the break through Jhon Cordoba.
The Golden Boys played two entirely different sides in each half, with Head Coach Javi Gracia trying to give most of his squad some minutes in the first friendly of pre-season.
It was Watford who had the first chance of the evening. Lovely one-touch link-up play between Gray and Richarlison set the Brazilian through, only for goalkeeper Timo Horn to be equal to his low drive.
The Hornets were on top for most of the opening period and it was their controlled possession that resulted in the first goal. Will Hughes stole possession in midfield and wonderfully slipped in Richarlison, who unselfishly fed Gray, and the front-man slotted in at the far post.
Watford continued to control most of possession throughout the first half, with Köln’s first chance coming 10 minutes before half-time when captain Marcel Risse’s shot was deflected over the bar by Christian Kabasele.
Gray almost doubled both his and Watford’s advantage five minutes before the break when Hughes again stole possession in midfield; the ball made its way out wide only for Daryl Janmaat’s cross to be turned behind by Sobiech, with Gray lurking dangerously.
The German side were almost level within five minutes of the restart. Köln skipper Risse found some space on the right and his fierce drive was stopped smartly by substitute keeper Heurelho Gomes.
And three minutes later they were level when Salih Oczan’s low cross from the left-hand side was turned into an open net by forward Cordoba.
The Golden Boys were almost back in front just after the hour mark, but no-one could get on the end of Kiko Femenia’s driven cross after good work from Isaac Success.
Both sides had chances to claim the win in the closing stages.
Firstly, Köln went close after Simon Terodde was sent racing through one-on-one but his chipped effort was inches away from Gomes’ net. This was followed by a beautiful curled effort from Dodi Lukebakio that went narrowly wide from the edge of the box shortly before the referee’s final whistle.
The Golden Boys’ pre-season campaign continues this Saturday (July 21) when they face another German outfit in the shape of Fortuna Dusseldorf. Make sure to keep up-to-date with all the latest from the camp in Austria on watfordfc.com.
HORNETS XI (first half) | Foster (GK); Janmaat, Cathcart, Kabasele, Masina; Capoue (C); Sema, Hughes, Pereyra, Richarlison; Gray.
HORNETS XI (second half) | Gomes (GK); Femenia, Mariappa, Britos, Holebas; Wilmot, Hoban; Lukebakio, Sinclair, Success; Deeney (C).