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Geoffrey Mujangi Bia scores during Watford's draw with Brighton and Hove Albion
Geoffrey Mujangi Bia scored a 25-yard strike as a Watford XI drew 1-1 with a side from Brighton and Hove Albion this afternoon.
The Hornets, who were led by head coach Gianfranco Zola, named a strong side which included summer signings Cristian Battocchio, Ikechi Anya and Steve Leo Beleck. Carl Dickinson, who has returned from his loan spell at Portsmouth, also started in a back three which included Lee Hodson and Adam Thompson.
Brighton boss - and close friend of Zola - Gus Poyet was at London Colney with his coaching staff and saw his team go behind midway through the half due to Bia's curling shot which, whilst central, was enough to beat the Brighton goalkeeper.
The first half was largely uneventful but the second period was a better spectacle and Watford goalkeeper Jonathan Bond made two excellent stops shortly after the restart, which also saw Alex Geijo and Connor Smith replace Beleck and Anya.
Brighton did equalise around the hour mark when former Watford striker Will Hoskins smashed a penalty down the middle of the goal after Thompson had been penalised.
Watford then enjoyed the majority of the possession and created the better opportunities.
Geijo had two shots from outside the box go close. Firstly he had an effort saved at the near post and then the Swiss-born striker fired a shot agonisingly wide of the far post.
Dickinson deserved to find the top corner with a lovely effort from 25-yards but the Brighton keeper just tipped over. The left back also headed over from a corner.
Beleck came back on for the final half hour or so, replacing Chris Iwelumo, and had a few attempts. The Udinese loanee headed over from Murray's corner, he had a shot saved and also wasted an opportunity to test the goalkeeper when through one-on-one by opting to cross.
Battocchio shot wide and Geijo hit the bar with a shot from the edge of the area but Watford were unable to find the winner despite their impressive second half showing.
Watford starting XI: Bond; Hodson, Thompson, Dickinson; Bia, Battocchio, McGinn, Murray, Anya; Beleck, Iwelumo. Replacements used: Smith, Geijo.
Brighton: Smith; Akubuine, McGiveron, Calderon, Sampayo; Dicker (Rodgers 45), Harley (March 60), Sparrow (Roberts 45), Lopez, Dobbie (Barker 60), Hoskins (Agdestein 60).