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Football | English Championship

Nathaniel Chalobah with Gianfranco Zola © Action Images

Watford keep promotion hopes alive



Watford remain in the hunt for automatic promotion to the Premier League after a 2-1 win at Leicester on Friday piled the pressure on second placed Hull.

Gianfranco Zola's third placed side knew a defeat at the King Power Stadium would have ended their hopes of finishing in the Championship's top two and guaranteed Hull's promotion to the top-flight.

But they rose to the challenge as goals from Troy Deeney and Nathaniel Chalobah late in the first half put them in control before Harry Kane's second half effort ensured a nervous finale for the Hornets.

Watford's fate is still out of their hands however as a win for Hull at struggling Barnsley on Saturday, or in their last game of the season against already promoted Cardiff next weekend, would ensure the Tigers are promoted from the second tier.

"It was a great game with a lot of emotions and some very good football, some of it was Premier League quality," Zola said.

"I think this promotion race will go down to the final day now. I will keep an eye on Hull tomorrow, but I will try to relax as well."

Leicester's promotion prospects are far more tenuous than Watford's following a defeat that keeps them one point outside the play-off places.

If sixth placed Bolton and fifth placed Crystal Palace both win on Saturday, Nigel Pearson's expensively assembled team will be consigned to another season in the second tier.

Watford had taken the lead in the 41st minute when Joel Ekstrand headed the ball back into the danger area at the far post and Deeney reacted quickest to score from six yards out.

Zola's men added a second goal two minutes later as a ferocious 25-yard strike from on-loan Chelsea midfielder Chalobah hit the back of the net via the underside of the bar.

Leicester got one back in the 61st minute when Paul Konchesky's shot was deflected towards substitute Kane and the on-loan Tottenham forward headed home.

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