Brilliant Boufal wins it for Saints

By SFC Media Sat 21 Oct Saints v West Brom
Photo by Matt Watson
Sat 21 Oct 5.30PM
Premier League
Southampton
1
West Bromwich Albion
0
Boufal [85']
Chadli (67')
Referee: Graham Scott | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 29,947

Sofiane Boufal's incredible late wonder goal gave Southampton a vital three points against West Bromwich Albion.

Introduced as a substitute late on, Boufal went on an incredible run in the 84th minute that carried him three-quarters of the St Mary's pitch and saw him beat man after man before firing into the bottom corner from 18 yards.
 
It was an incredible intervention on what had looked to be another frustrating afternoon for Saints, who had been held here a week previously by Newcastle.

But, having lit up St Mary's twice last season with sensational efforts, Boufal produced something even more magical under the lights to send the Southampton fans home happy.

There was one change for the hosts, as captain Steven Davis was restored to the starting line-up in favour of Nathan Redmond, who dropped to the bench.

It was an upbeat start from Saints, as the wind swirled and the rain began to come down.

Mauricio Pellegrino’s side enjoyed plenty of the ball in the early stages and went within inches of gaining the lead after 16 minutes.

Shane Long was fouled in a central position by Jake Livermore 25 yards out, with Ryan Bertrand’s resulting free-kick deflecting off the West From wall and hitting the outside of the post.

Ryan Bertrand reacts to hitting the post

Bertrand was again at the heart of Saints’ next opportunity, driving into the left side of the area and pulling a clever pass back to Dušan Tadić, whose angled strike was straight at Ben Foster in the Albion goal.

An even better opportunity then arrived in the 23rd minute, as Steven Davis swung in a corner, which Virgil van Dijk got a touch to at the near post. The ball dropped to Oriol Romeu inside the six-yard box, but, with his back to goal, the midfielder could only spin and shoot wide.


Oriol Romeu turns and shoots just wide

The pressure didn’t relent, and Saints again carved out a glorious chance in the 29th minute, with Manolo Gabbiadini going on a bursting run down the left and sliding a low ball into Shane Long at the near post, but he turned the ball inches wide with his right foot.

The hosts got a reminder five minutes from the interval that they needed to remain wary of West Brom’s threat, as Allan Nyom, on earlier as a substitute for the injured Jonny Evans, cut onto his right foot on the edge of the area, only to blaze over.

Back at the other end, Maya Yoshida twice went close, from corners, first with a bouncing header that Foster had to push over and then with a bicycle kick that flew a few yards wide.


Maya Yoshida goes close with a bicycle kick

The half-time break didn’t change the flow of the game, as Saints attacked straight from the off again, and Gabbiadini threatened quickly as he met Cédric’s right-wing cross and sent a header flying half-a-yard over.

Gabbiadini saw a shot from 20 yards deflected wide shortly afterwards, while Long then tested Foster with a low strike from the same distance.

Former Saints striker Jay Rodriguez had his first effort of the day at the other end in the 55th minute, but his first-time strike from Solomon Rondon’s knock down drifted wide from 20 yards.

He should have punished his former club five minutes later, though, as Grzegorz Krychowiak played him clean through on goal, but Rodriguez skewed his right-footed shot well wide with just Fraser Forster to beat.

Mauricio Pellegrino watches on

Saints' first change came in the 69th minute, as Pellegrino made an attacking switch, taking off Romeu and sending on Redmond in his place.

He nearly made a major impact within moments of coming on, as his angled ball from the left worked its way through to an unmarked Tadić on the far corner of the area. He was denied by a sprawling Foster, before then going to ground under a challenge from the keeper, as he attempted to retrieve the loose ball, but referee Graham Scott ignored his appeals for a penalty.

The lively Redmond then curled just wide from 20 yards with ten minutes remaining, before two more subs were thrown on, as Tadić and Long were replaced by Boufal and Charlie Austin.

And it was Boufal who produced a moment of absolute genius to win it, picking up the ball midway inside his own half and then spinning past two West Brom players before driving up the pitch. The Saints playmaker beat man after man, before cutting onto his right foot 18 yards out and stroking a beautiful finish into the bottom corner, as St Mary's erupted.

Southampton

Head to Head Stats

West Bromwich Albion
  • Possession (%)
    66
    34
  • Shots
    20
    7
  • Shots on target
    6
    2
  • Corners
    8
    3
  • Passes Complete
    492
    206

Southampton

44
Fraser Forster (GK)
3
Maya Yoshida
17
Virgil van Dijk
21
Ryan Bertrand
2
Cédric Soares
11
Dusan Tadic
Sofiane Boufal (81′)
14
Oriol Romeu
Nathan Redmond (69′)
18
Mario Lemina
8
Steven Davis (C)
20
Manolo Gabbiadini
7
Shane Long
Charlie Austin (81′)
10
Charlie Austin
22
Nathan Redmond
16
James Ward-Prowse
19
Sofiane Boufal
38
Sam McQueen
6
Wesley Hoedt
13
Alex McCarthy

West Bromwich Albion

1
Ben Foster (GK)
26
Ahmed Hegazi
25
Craig Dawson
3
Kieran Gibbs
6
Jonny Evans (C)
Allan Nyom (32′)
19
Jay Rodriguez
20
Grzegorz Krychowiak
8
Jake Livermore
22
Nacer Chadli
Matt Phillips (77′)
18
Gareth Barry
Gareth McAuley (53′)
9
Salomón Rondón
2
Allan Nyom
10
Matt Phillips
14
James McClean
13
Boaz Myhill
11
Chris Brunt
5
Claudio Yacob
23
Gareth McAuley
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