Leeds on-field woes rumble on
Leeds' protracted takeover saga may be reaching its conclusion, but their on-field problems continued as they slumped to a 3-0 Sky Bet Championship defeat at Watford.
First-half goals from Almen Abdi and Ikechi Anya reflected the Hornets' dominance, and Troy Deeney added another after half-time as Brian McDermott's side slumped to an eighth defeat in nine games at Vicarage Road.
Massimo Cellino officially completed his takeover at Elland Road earlier on Tuesday, with the Italian businessman's lawyers confirming the news which should at least stave off the threat of administration.
Cellino is still hoping the Football League will ratify his takeover, which was initially rejected after the Italian was convicted of avoiding tax payments on a luxury yacht, at a board meeting on Thursday after winning his appeal against its decision.
Watford were by far the better side in the first half, and fully deserved their two-goal half-time advantage.
They might have been in front as early as the fourth minute, when Abdi broke down the right and picked out Davide Faraoni, who saw his shot from 12 yards well blocked.
Five minutes later the Hornets opened the scoring - Anya beating Scott Wootton down the left flank and picking out Abdi, who timed his run into box perfectly to thump a header past Jack Butland from six yards for his first goal of the season.
It said much about Leeds' first-half impotence that their only meaningful effort came when Ross McCormack tried his luck from near the halfway line and Manuel Almunia comfortably held his speculative effort.
Anya doubled Watford's advantage in the 32nd minute after former Liverpool winger Albert Riera progressed to the byline on the left flank and cut the ball back for Sean Murray, who fed Faraoni to stand up a cross which the Scotland winger headed home from six yards.
A minute after the restart Dominic Poleon played in Noel Hunt, who fired wide from 12 yards when presented with the visitors' best chance of the match.
Butland did well to keep Deeney out in the 52nd minute when the striker burst into the box only to have the England international smother the ball at his feet, before Daniel Toszer hit a vicious shot narrowly over from 20 yards.
Hunt was lucky to stay on the pitch on the hour mark after a late challenge on Faraoni saw him pick up just a yellow card.
The game was put beyond doubt in the 66th minute when hesitant defending from Tom Lees and Wootton allowed Deeney to wriggle into the box and score his 21st league goal of the season.
Poleon's 78th-minute effort was well blocked by Almunia, but Watford almost made it four at the other end as Anya broke swiftly and picked out Deeney, whose effort deflected narrowly wide.
Victory keeps Watford's slim play-off hopes alive, with Beppe Sannino's side seven points off sixth place but with a game in hand, but Leeds slip to 16th.