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Sarr stars for Watford as Villa struggles without Grealish

August 14, 2021 GMT
Watford's Emmanuel Dennis, right, scores their side's first goal of the game  during the English Premier League soccer match between Watford and Aston Villa,  at Vicarage Road, in Watford, England, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (Jonathan Brady/PA via AP)
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Watford's Emmanuel Dennis, right, scores their side's first goal of the game during the English Premier League soccer match between Watford and Aston Villa, at Vicarage Road, in Watford, England, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (Jonathan Brady/PA via AP)
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Watford's Emmanuel Dennis, right, scores their side's first goal of the game during the English Premier League soccer match between Watford and Aston Villa, at Vicarage Road, in Watford, England, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (Jonathan Brady/PA via AP)

WATFORD, England (AP) — Watford record signing Ismaila Sarr starred on his Premier League return as the Hornets held off a late challenge from Aston Villa to secure a 3-2 win on Saturday.

Sarr had already set up Emmanuel Dennis for his first club goal for Watford’s opener in the 10th minute before he found the net himself after an individual run down the right for his side’s second.

In the second half, debutant Cucho Hernandez added Watford’s third just moments after coming on but Aston Villa was able to reply through John McGinn’s long-range effort at Vicarage Road in the 70th.

Referee Mike Dean pointed to the penalty spot in stoppage time after a foul in the box, with debutant Danny Ings stepping up and making no mistake for his new club, firing the ball into the back of the net.

Sarr had joined Watford for their last Premier League campaign for a club-record fee in the summer of 2019 but struggled in a tumultuous season for the club, finishing with just six goals.

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It was a return to full stadiums for the fans, but the visiting contingent will not have been too pleased with their first look at a post-Jack Grealish Aston Villa, which had to wait until the 70th minute for its first shot on target.

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