A Gerard Deulofeu hat-trick and a Troy Deeney double lifted Watford into seventh in the Premier League table after the visitors' 5-1 win at Cardiff on Friday night, writes Sky Sports
Deulofeu opened the scoring in the 18th minute in a first half where Cardiff felt they should have had a penalty when Josh Murphy went down in the box under a strong challenge from Daryl Janmaat (42).
The former Barcelona forward grabbed his second with a composed finish in the 61st minute, before he completed a hat-trick two minutes later after coolly lofting the ball over goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.
Deeney made it four with a simple tap-in (73) before Sol Bamba scored a consolation eight minutes later. And in added time, Deeney scored Watford's fifth to complete a magnificent victory.
The result means Watford move up into seventh while Cardiff remain 17th and just a point above the relegation zone.
After a slow start, Cardiff came closest to taking the lead in the 15th minute when Oumar Niasse tried to lob Ben Foster from close range, but the 35-year-old goalkeeper sprinted off his line and blocked the first shot before quickly punching away the loose ball to prevent a rebound.
Three minutes later and Watford took the lead through Deulofeu. Deeney bundled past Sean Morrison and Joe Bennett before teeing up the Spaniard to stroke the ball into the bottom corner.
The flashpoint of the half arrived three minutes from half-time when Murphy was wiped out by Janmaat in the box, but referee Simon Hooper did not feel the late sliding tackle merited a spot-kick.
The second half began in scrappy fashion as Cardiff pushed for an equaliser, but Deulofeu scored his second of the night just after the hour mark. A poor free-kick from Bennett was headed straight out to the Spaniard, who ran from the halfway line and rounded Etheridge to double the visitors' lead.
Within a couple of minutes, Deulofeu had doubled his entire goal tally for the season in just one game. A sloppy Harry Arter pass was intercepted by Etienne Capoue, whose incisive pass was dinked into the bottom corner by Deulofeu for his hat-trick.
Deulofeu turned provider 10 minutes later as he broke free into the box and squared to Deeney for a simple tap-in.
Bamba scored a consolation in the 81st minute as he stabbed in from close range following a goalmouth scramble, before Deeney made it five with a tidy finish in added time.
- Gerard Deulofeu became the first Watford player to score a top-flight hat-trick since Mark Falco in October 1986.
- Cardiff manager Neil Warnock has lost his last four home league matches against Watford by an aggregate score of 16-2, with this his 16th league defeat against the Hornets - only against Reading (16) has he lost as many league matches as a manager.
- Watford scored five goals in a top-flight match for the first time since winning 5-1 against Leicester City in November 1986.
- Watford's Gerard Deulofeu has had a hand in seven goals in his last three Premier League appearances against Cardiff City (5 goals, 2 assists).
- Gerard Deulofeu became only the third player to score a Premier League hat-trick on a Friday, after Dean Windass (Bradford v Derby, April 2000) and Thierry Henry (Arsenal v Liverpool and Leeds in April 2004).
- Troy Deeney's first seven Premier League assists were all for Odion Ighalo - since then, his nine assists have been for eight different players (Capoue twice, Kabasele, Niang, Richarlison, Doucoure, Gray, Sema and Deulofeu).
- Cardiff have conceded 28 home Premier League goals this season - more than any other side.
- All four Premier League hat-tricks scored in Wales have been scored by players for English teams - Luis Suarez vs Cardiff (Liverpool, 2014), Riyad Mahrez vs Swansea (Leicester, 2015), Jermain Defoe vs Swansea (Sunderland, 2016) and Deulofeu tonight for Watford.