Doucoure grabs contentious equalizer for Watford in EPL

Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure, left, and Southampton's Dusan Tadic, center, battle for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match at Vicarage Road, Watford, England, Saturday Jan. 13, 2018. (Steven Paston/PA via AP)
Southampton's James Ward-Prowse, right, celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with teammate Jack Stephens during the English Premier League soccer match against Watford at Vicarage Road, Watford, England, Saturday Jan. 13, 2018. (Steven Paston/PA via AP)

WATFORD, England — Abdoulaye Doucoure sent the ball into the net with his right hand to score Watford's equalizer in the 90th minute in a 2-2 draw against Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.

Video assistant referees were used for the first time in domestic English soccer this week but because they still aren't deployed in the Premier League, Doucoure's goal was allowed to stand.

James Ward-Prowse scored Southampton's goals in the 20th and 44th minutes, with Watford jeered off by its own fans at halftime.

The hosts improved after the break, mainly thanks to the introduction of club captain Troy Deeney up front, and his strike partner Andre Gray reduced the deficit in the 58th minute.

Deeney was involved in the controversial equalizer, heading the ball across the six-yard box where Doucoure arrived late to get in front of goalkeeper Alex McCarthy and push it into the net.

Southampton's players protested in vain.

Since fighting hard to retain manager Marco Silva's services in November following interest from Everton, Watford has won just two of its 10 Premier League matches, losing seven of them.

From contending for the top four, Watford has plunged to 10th place and is only six points above the relegation zone because of the congested nature of the bottom half of the standings.

Silva has been widely hailed since he arrived in England last season for his work at Hull, which still went down under the Portuguese coach, and Watford.

Silva recently dismissed suggestions that Everton's interest is behind Watford's slump, instead blaming it on injuries and players getting sent off in games.

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