Alex Jakubiak scored a nerveless 90th-minute penalty to send Watford dramatically through to the semi-final of the Nagjee Cup today.
Following defeat to Atletico Paranaense and a win over Rapid Bucharesti, Watford only needed a draw to progress to the semi-final of the eight-team tournament but they looked to be heading out of the competition in India after trailing to a 10th-minute goal by FC Volyn at the EMS Corporation Stadium. However, Jakubiak, who scored a dramatic equaliser in the last Under-21 league game against Brentford, did it again this afternoon, scoring from 12 yards to rescue a point for Harry Kewell’s side.
Watford will now extend their Kerala stay and play in the semi-final on Friday.
Jakubiak scored one of the goals against Bucharesti last week and has 13 in his last 12 u21 league games. He started up front today with Ola Adeyemo, the Nigerian trialist who started his second game for the Hornets. Adeyemo has been training with the Hornets’ academy since the middle of last month and scored on his debut in a 3-2 friendly win over Reading. The 21-year-old striker, who was released by Dundee United in December, started the match with FC Volyn in Kozhikode this afternoon. However, he failed to find the target and was replaced just before the hour by Mahlondo Martin.
The first goal of the game came after 10 minutes when the opposition’s captain Sergiy Kravchenko beat Luke Simpson with what was described as an “unstoppable shot”. The Ukrainians forced six corners after only 18 minutes and it sounded like the Hornets were lucky to only be one goal down at the break.
Bernard Mensah came off with a knock in the last game but he recovered in time for this one and he had a shot tipped over by the Volyn keeper shortly after half-time. Martin flashed a cross across the face of goal just past the hour mark and then George Byers, who came off the bench for Rhyle Ovenden, just failed to connect with another opportunity. The missed chances set the scene for a dramatic finish and allowed Jakubiak, yet again, to emerge as the hero.
Watford: Simpson, Eleftheriou, Mason, Stewart, Johnson (c), Young, Murray, Ovenden (Byers h-t), Jakubiak, Adeyemo (Martin 56), Mensah. Subs: Haigh (GK), Lewis, Doherty, Hall, Charles, Folivi.
Volyn: Kychak; Bogdanov, Loginov, Zunic, Polovyi, Kravchenko, Gerasymiuk, Nykytiuk, Memeshev, Shapoval, Petrov. Subs: Nedilko (GK), Shust (GK), Didenko, Romaniuk, Chepeliuk, Nasonov, Kozban
- Photo courtesy of Siddhant Prakash Singh and @dfootballmind