Watford head into the international break off the back of a dismal 1-0 defeat away at Leeds United, who made the most of their visitors' toothless performance to claim a first win of the season.

Diego Llorente’s goal gave Leeds a more than deserved lead at the break, with the hosts dominating throughout the opening 45 minutes.

A Christian Kabasele foul prevented Watford from salvaging a point late on after United seemed to have gifted them an equaliser.

While there were complaints from the travelling contingent about that decision, there could be few arguments with the overall result, with Leeds the much better side throughout.

The Hornets went into the match with a solid record against their hosts who had won just one of the last ten encounters between the two sides. From the last five meetings, Watford had won four and drawn one, scoring 16 goals in the process.

Xisco Munoz’s plan to add to that streak involved just two changes to the team that salvaged a point from a poor performance against Newcastle last weekend, with Francisco Sierralta drafted back into the back four in place of Craig Cathcart, while Ozan Tufan made his first league start, with Tom Cleverley only returning to training on Thursday following the head injury he sustained against the Magpies.

Ahead of the match, the head coach had said that his team were guilty of making too many individual errors and that improvements were needed.

The opening half of the match saw little sign of things getting better, particularly in defence, with both Sierralta and his defensive partner William Troost-Ekong looking nervous throughout.

First Troost-Ekong had to bail out Sierralta after the Chilean had allowed Rodrigo to skip away from him with ease. The Nigerian was on hand to block the shot.

However, it was his dallying that then provided Stuart Dallas with the necessary room to test Ben Foster with the game’s first shot on target. The keeper got down well to deny the midfielder before reacting cleverly to clear the danger with Daniel James charging in the box.

The visitors’ defensive problems didn’t end there though, and after a nervy challenge from Sierralta resulted in Moussa Sissoko turning the ball behind for a corner, the hosts duly opened the scoring.

The delivery from Raphina was flicked on by Troost-Ekong but Juraj Kucka headed back into the danger zone from the back post and Llorente reacted to flick the loose ball past Foster.

Watford were fortunate that Leeds weren’t given the chance to double the lead from the spot just moments later.

A clumsy challenge from Troost-Ekong on James had the home fans asking for a penalty, but neither referee Simon Hooper, nor VAR, obliged in granting their request.

Still, they could have scored from a number of chances that followed in the next ten minutes, as they showed no sign of relenting.

Mateusz Klich curled a shot into Foster’s gloves before the goalkeeper had to be quick off his line to thwart Rodrigo.

Raphina then tried to take the keeper out of the equation soon after, when he latched onto Rodrigo’s through ball, but he only made the angle too tight for himself and couldn’t find the target.

With the game on the verge of the half-hour mark, Watford finally created their first real sight of goal, with Tufan pouncing on a loose ball out from the back from Llorente.

However, the Turkish international failed to keep his shot down and fired high into the Don Revie stand.

From then on, Leeds’ dominance continued until the end of the half with the visitors struggling to cope.

Klich had a chance to make it 2-0 when Kucka wildly swung his leg at Raphina’s searching ball into the box, only for it to drop invitingly for the Leeds man, whose volley wasn’t far off finding the top corner.

Watford’s miserable half was made worse when Joshua King had to be replaced by Ken Sema, but not before Ismaila Sarr had fired well over the bar after jinking away from Junior Firpo.

Raphina fired over the same crossbar shortly after the match had restarted, with Leeds picking up where they had left off.

Tufan’s barge in the back of Klich on the edge of the area presented the attacker with a free kick, but he was unable to keep it down.

Next it was Dallas’ turn to fire over when Klich found him in acres of space on the edge of the area. It seemed a clear enough chance, but he failed to test Foster.

The goalkeeper was called upon on the hour, shortly after Joao Pedro was introduced to try and freshen up Watford's attack, marking the end of Tufan's first league start.

Sierralta headed a free kick delivery out for a corner, from which the ball in from Raphina almost curled straight into the net, but Foster clawed it away from underneath the bar.

The Hornets were then forced to make their final substitution of the match, after Sierralta hurt himself while kicking the ball out for a corner, compounding a miserable day for the defender. He was replaced by Kabasele.

Watford did fashion a rare opportunity in the 72nd minute when a cleared corner was hiked back into the box by Kiko Femenia. 

Troost-Ekong flicked into the path of Emmanuel Dennis, who forced a save out of Illan Meslier from close range.

The Leeds keeper then had his blushes spared when he spilled Danny Rose's cross from the resulting corner and it bounced into the net, via one of his defenders.

The referee adjudged Kabasele to have fouled in the area and awarded a free kick to the home team, cancelling out the goal.

Leeds then pushed hard to kill the game off and were nearly handed a second on a plate when Foster flapped at a Kalvin Phillips free kick, gifting a chance to substitute Tyler Roberts.

He had two chances to double the lead, but his first effort was cleared off the line by kucka and his second hit the bar.

Nevertheless, the home side had done more than enough and claimed their first win of the campaign.

Watford have a lot of work to do before they face Liverpool in two weeks' time.

TEAM: Foster; Femenia, Sierralta (Kabasele), Troost-Ekong, Rose; Kucka, Sissoko, Tufan (Pedro); Sarr, Dennis, King (Sema)
Unused substitutes: Bachmann, Ngakia, Cleverley, Masina, Gosling, Hernandez