Armando Broja’s first Premier League goal ended Southampton’s winless start to the season in a deserved victory over a depleted Leeds side at St Mary’s.
Saints dominated most of the match, racking up an avalanche of shots, and eventually the pressure told when the Albanian rifled home eight minutes into the second half, finishing off a superb counter-attack that began in the opposite penalty area.
Daniel James might have done better from Leeds’ only chance of note, but failed to capitalise on a defensive mix-up on a day when Alex McCarthy did not have a single save to make.
Ralph Hasenhüttl made five changes to his starting line-up as Saints returned to action after the two-week international break.
Mohamed Elyounoussi and Broja – both scorers for their countries – came into the side, the latter making his first Premier League start.
Elsewhere, there were recalls for Romain Perraud and Moussa Djenepo, while Ibrahima Diallo replaced the suspended James Ward-Prowse as Kyle Walker-Peters, Theo Walcott, Nathan Tella and Adam Armstrong dropped to the bench.
The visitors were without a number of key players, including England internationals Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford, and star man Raphinha.
Hasenhüttl had called for a fast start from his team and duly saw Saints control the early stages.
Leeds were pinned back, but chances were in short supply until around the 20-minute mark when the hosts really began to turn the screw.
Nathan Redmond dragged a low shot across goal, before sending goalkeeper Illan Meslier sprawling to his right to push behind a skidding 20-yarder.
Broja then went close from two Redmond corners – the latter on set-piece duty in Ward-Prowse’s absence.
The Albanian had already threatened from one glancing header, before another similar connection at the near post looked set to be nodded in by the flying figure of Elyounoussi at the far, only for Stuart Dallas to get the faintest touch to divert the ball wide.
Broja is an imposing presence, standing at 6ft 3in, but has a deceptive turn of pace, and he left the Leeds defence in his wake to force another stop from Meslier with his legs.
Then Perraud raced in behind and cut the ball back, but Broja just allowed the ball to escape his path before he could pull the trigger as Leeds held on to their clean sheet.
It would take until the final minute of the first half for the visitors to register their first shot – a speculative effort from distance by Tyler Roberts that whistled wide – but by now Saints had 12 of their own with nothing to show for their dominance.
Leeds had been well below par for 45 minutes and did show some signs of improvement after the restart, notably when Jack Harrison skipped away from Oriol Romeu and drilled a shot goalwards that needed an important block from Mohammed Salisu.
But Saints deserved the lead and duly got it on 53 minutes, as Broja struck his first Premier League goal to bring St Mary’s to its feet.
It came at the end of a brilliant counter-attack, started by Diallo winning the ball inside his own box and Djenepo slipping a clever pass down the side of the Leeds defence to release Redmond.
Suddenly Saints were two on one and Redmond played it perfectly, enticing the last defender before sliding the ball to his right for Broja to finish emphatically into the roof of the net.
Redmond, starting from a central position alongside the goalscorer, was a constant menace, and soon found Elyounoussi who arrowed a low shot agonisingly beyond the far post with Meslier beaten.
By now Hasenhüttl had introduced Stuart Armstrong for his first appearance of the season, replacing Djenepo who had played a key role in the goal.
Leeds, still not themselves, spurned their best chance to level midway through the second half when Salisu hesitated under pressure from the speedy James, who nipped in to prod the ball towards the far corner but ultimately just wide.
At the other end, Broja had impressed as a substitute on his home debut against West Ham last month and was proving he could be just as effective as a starter, bullying the visiting defence and carving out a chance for himself out of nothing, only to shoot wildly off target.
The match-winner had run himself into the ground and departed to a standing ovation in the closing stages, as Saints played out the final moments relatively untroubled en route to three much-needed points.