Last Minute Leveller for Saints dents United’s Champions League Hopes


A last-minute goal from a corner from substitute Michael Obafemi meant Southampton came from behind to claim a point in a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.

United, down to ten men for the final few minutes after Brandon Williams came off due to a clash of heads when challenging for the ball with Southampton defender Kyle Walker-Peters, led for the most part of the game as goals from Marcus Rashford and Antony Martial midway through the first half meant that Stuart Armstrong’s early finish was cancelled out.

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The Saints started the game well after naming the same line-up for the third consecutive game, with their high-energy, one-touch football giving them the first real chance of the game as Armstrong’s 25-yard hit was safely gobbled up by David de Gea on his 400th appearance for Manchester United. However, Armstrong got his goal on 12 minutes, with Danny Ings winning possession from United midfielder Paul Pogba, before playing the ball to Redmond who gave the assist to Stuart Armstrong at the back post with the latter getting a cool finish past de Gea.

The Saints could have doubled their lead as Nathan Redmond darted down the wing to cross in to the area, but Lindelof dealt with the threat at the near post.

United were level, though, on 20 minutes as despite the threatening play from Southampton, the Red Devils were able to get themselves back into the game. Paul Pogba, who made a few early mistakes, played a wonderful cross in to Anthony Martial, who held off several Southampton defenders to play a ball through to Marcus Rashford, who coolly slotted a left-footed strike into the far corner of Alex McCarthy’s goal.

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Shortly afterwards, Anthony Martial was involved again, after picking the ball up and darting past Kyle Walker-Peters before finishing into the top corner.

The drinks break came shortly afterwards for the Saints whose defending has been commendable in recent weeks. They didn’t look great for the remainder of the first half, perhaps only because United really came out of their shell; they could have added a third after the high-scoring front three of Rashford, Greenwood and Martial were coming forward after the half-hour mark, but for the latter’s wayward shot which kept the Saints within reach.

The Saints had a late corner before half-time, dealt with by a reinvigorated Pogba, and started the second half as they did the first. They were in with a shout for a penalty after Harry Maguire’s challenge on Stuart Armstrong early in the second half, but nothing was given to the Saints’ goalscorer.

Southampton’s counter-attack was at times commendable, and just before the second drinks break the Saints had a great chance as Kyle Walker-Peters drilled a great cross into the area, but Adams failed to go for it and get a touch for the equaliser.

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Entering the final ten minutes, the game really was all Southampton – Hasenhuttl brought on Obafemi for Romeu, so the attack was on – and the board went up to show 5 added minutes.

Walker-Peters and Williams clashed heads in a challenge with no malice at all, but the latter ended up having to come off whilst the former stayed on. With it being 11 vs 10, the Saints won a corner in the fifth additional minute, which James Ward-Prowse stepped up for, and in what was a messy corner – Bednarek flicking to ball on to an outstretched Obafemi – de Gea could not keep his finish out. The Saints’ pressure had paid off, with the full-time whistle coming shortly afterwards.

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Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl told Sky Sports at full time:

“We developed our game with the ball extremely in the last few weeks. We are becoming more brave. We are taking more risks. If you take more risks, things can happen. We wanted to be brave, we have nothing to lose and we can play free.”

The Saints, who are the 5th best team in the Premier League for away games, have lost just 1 of their last 6 games, whilst United – who have missed out on the chance to get into the Champions League spots tonight despite heavy defeats for rivals Chelsea and Leicester – stay in 5th in the league table with three games to go, as European football is still so undecided in the top division.

Southampton next play in their penultimate game at St Mary’s this season in a South Coast derby, hosting all-but-safe Brighton on Thursday.

Manchester United: de Gea, Wan-Bissaka (booked), Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw (Williams 75’), Pogba (Fred 63’), Matic, Greenwood (James 84’), Fernandes (McTominay 84’), Rashford, Martial. Unused Subs: Bailly, Mata, Periera, Romero, Ighalo.

Southampton: McCarthy, Walker-Peters (booked), Stephens (booked), Bednarek, Bertrand, Armstrong (Smallbone 70’), Ward-Prowse (booked), Romeu (Obafemi 87’), Redmond, Ings, Adams (Long 64’). Unused Subs: Vestegaard, Hojberg, Gunn, Vokins, Danso, Ferry.

Wessex Scene Man of the Match: Anthony Martial (Manchester United)

Referee: Chris Kavanagh


Sports Editor and 2nd Year Population & Geography student

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