A wonderfully crafted goal from summer signing Moussa Djenepo was the clincher as Southampton beat Sheffield United 0-1 at Brammall Lane.
Southampton were under the cosh for large periods of the game, as Angus Gunn made a string of superb saves to keep Sheffield United at bay. Goalkeeper Gunn saved David McGoldrick’s effort in the first half, before McGoldrick fired wide inside the six yard box from Oliver Norwood’s free-kick. Oliver McBurnie’s goal was rightly ruled out by VAR just after half-time, as defender John Egan was in an offside position when the ball came into the box. The Saints had chances of their own, as striker Che Adams had his header saved by home keeper Dean Henderson.
Djenepo – whose opening goal helped to secure the Saints a 0-2 victory in their last away game at Brighton – produced another moment of magic which proved the difference. Djenepo used his strength to hold off Norwood, then showed tremendous agility to jink past Egan and Jack O’Connell, before demonstrating his composure in the final third by firing the ball into the bottom left corner to give Southampton the lead. Shortly after the goal, Sheffield striker Billy sharp received his marching orders after a reckless challenge on Stuart Armstrong. Despite the numerical advantage, central defenders Maya Yoshida and Jannik Vestergaard had to defend like warriors to withstand the heavy pressure from the hosts, ensuring the three points went to the Saints.
VAR has been in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons lately, but Hassenhuttl was full of praise for VAR, as well as his goal scorer:
VAR did a fantastic job, it’s fantastic that such a technique is available in the league. Moussa – I must say a big compliment to our physios, they did everything they could for him to play today and he scored a fantastic goal so everybody loves him.
This Saints’ victory was remarkably similar to the 2-0 win at Brighton before the international break: it involved the Saints being under pressure for large periods of the game, a red card for the opposition, VAR in their favour and – most crucially – having a goalscoring threat on the break, especially through the deadly Djenepo.
The Saints have now claimed back-to-back away wins in the Premier League for the first time since March 2017; and as a result climb to 10th in the table. Next up for the Saints: they play host to Bournemouth in the South Coast derby at 8pm Friday night.