Ten-man Saints cruelly denied

By SFC Media Sat 25 Aug Saints v Leicester
Photo by Matt Watson | Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
Sat 25 Aug 3PM
Premier League
Southampton
1
Leicester City
2
Bertrand [52']
Gray [56'] Maguire [90+2']
Højbjerg (26') Bertrand (64')
Maguire (90+3')
Højbjerg (77')
Referee: Jonathan Moss | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 29,925

Ten-man Southampton were denied a point by Harry Maguire's added-time strike, which decided a dramatic encounter with Leicester City, at St Mary's.

Saints had, at one stage, looked on course for a first win of the season when a thunderous strike from Ryan Bertrand on his 150th appearance for the club propelled them into a second-half lead.

However, a Demarai Gray equaliser was followed by a red card for Pierre-Emile Højbjerg in the closing stages, leaving Mark Hughes's team digging deep in search of a second home draw in succession.

They were not to get it, though, as Maguire's low shot from distance in the second minute of added time crept inside the near post and gave the Foxes all three points.

It was a cruel twist for the hosts, who had more than their fair share of what was a compelling contest throughout.

Hughes made four changes from the side that lost 2-1 at Everton last weekend, as Jannik Vestergaard replaced Jack Stephens at centre-half, while Mohamed Elyounoussi was handed a full debut, with Højbjerg and Shane Long also brought in, as Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse and Charlie Austin dropped to the bench.

The Saints boss had called for intensity from his side right from the start this week, and he got plenty of that in the early stages, as the hosts, powered by the running of Long, started positively.

The forward nearly got on the end of a clever Nathan Redmond delivery early on, while Saints were able to apply pressure through a series of set pieces.

Leicester held firm, though, and created their own opportunity from a corner in the 15th minute, but Nampalys Mendy headed over from a decent central position after being picked out by James Maddison’s delivery.

Back at the other end, Elyounoussi came close to marking his first start with a goal, as he drove a low shot in from the corner of the area that Kasper Schmeichel did well to keep out at his near post.

Mohamed Elyounoussi on his full Saints debut.

Leicester’s threat on the counter was apparent, though, as they broke down the right through the lively Ricardo Pereira, with only the back-tracking efforts of Mario Lemina preventing his cutback picking out a well-positioned Maddison in the box.

It was another of the visitors’ breaks that brought the first caution of the game, as Højbjerg pulled Maddison to the ground in the 26th minute, as he attempted to drive towards the Saints area.

Having stopped that attack, albeit at a cost, Hughes’s side swiftly went back on the offensive, coming close to snatching the lead two minutes later.

Elyounoussi’s driven corner found the run of Vestergaard, who thumped a header back across goal, only to see it bounce just wide of the post.

Saints were looking strong, but again there remained a sense of the damage Leicester could do on the counter.

They came close to inflicting some in the 38th minute, as a swift move upfield ended with a low Ben Chilwell cross that deflected off Cédric – on his 100th Saints appearance – before hitting Gray at the near post and flying wide.

Three minutes before the interval they came even closer, as Chilwell’s glorious, arcing cross from the left came within inches of picking out Kelechi Iheanacho, who had run free in the centre of the area, with the ball bouncing just past his outstretched foot and across the face of goal.

It was a back-and-forth game, and so it was no surprise when, in added time, Saints nearly grabbed the opener.

Redmond’s sharp ball into Danny Ings was met with a brilliant turn into space by the striker, but Schmeichel saved his low shot, with the rebound flashing just past Long, moments before the half-time whistle went.

It was Ings again, within three minutes of the restart, who almost broke the deadlock.

Bertrand, on his 150th appearance for the club, slid a perfectly-weighted pass in behind the Leicester defence for the run of the striker, who produced a quick touch and first-time shot, but Schmeichel did well to repel the effort at his near post.

There was absolutely nothing he could do to stop the rocket of a shot that Bertrand produced on his milestone appearance in the 52nd minute, though, as Saints grabbed the lead in some style.

Goalscorer Ryan Bertrand celebrates with Danny Ings

Højbjerg turned and sent a low ball in from the right, which spun across the area and into the path of the left-back, who hit a thumping strike that, from the moment he hit it, seemed destined for only one place – the top corner.

And that was exactly where it ended, even with Schmeichel’s full-stretch attempt to get a hand to the ball.

The lead lasted only three minutes, however.

Gray reacted quickest to a loose ball in the area, brought it under control in space, and spun to fire a low shot past Alex McCarthy.

The sides then exchanged substitutions midway through the half, as Marc Albrighton replaced Iheanacho for the visitors, while Austin was sent on in place of Ings for Saints.

There could be no replacing Højbjerg as he went off 14 minutes from time, though, with the midfielder shown a second yellow card after he went to ground in the area under a challenge from Wilfred Ndidi, leaving the hosts to play out the closing stages with ten men.

Hughes quickly responded by taking off Elyounoussi and sending on Romeu, although it was not easy to contain a Leicester side buoyed by their man advantage.

The hosts were indebted to McCarthy for keeping them level nine minutes from the end, as Chilwell sprinted through the defence and charged down on goal from an angle, with the Saints keeper saving excellently at his near post.

Saints' final change arrived with less than five minutes on the clock, as Long departed to applause from all four sides of the ground to be replaced by Stuart Armstrong.

It looked as though Hughes's men would see the game out, until Maguire's effort from distance went through a crowd and nestled in the bottom corner.

Today's match sponsor: Scope
Southampton

Head to Head Stats

Leicester City
  • Possession (%)
    52
    48
  • Shots
    11
    8
  • Shots on target
    5
    5
  • Corners
    10
    3
  • Passes Complete
    373
    352

Southampton

1
Alex McCarthy (GK)
6
Wesley Hoedt
4
Jannik Vestergaard
21
Ryan Bertrand (C)
2
Cédric Soares
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
22
Nathan Redmond
11
Mohamed Elyounoussi
Oriol Romeu (79′)
18
Mario Lemina
7
Shane Long
Stuart Armstrong (86′)
9
Danny Ings
Charlie Austin (69′)
28
Angus Gunn
5
Jack Stephens
8
Steven Davis
16
James Ward-Prowse
17
Stuart Armstrong
10
Charlie Austin
14
Oriol Romeu

Leicester City

1
Kasper Schmeichel (GK)
3
Ben Chilwell
18
Daniel Amartey
5
Wes Morgan (C)
15
Harry Maguire
24
Nampalys Mendy
14
Ricardo Pereira
25
Wilfred Ndidi
7
Demarai Gray
Shinji Okazaki (88′)
10
James Maddison
Rachid Ghezzal (78′)
8
Kelechi Iheanacho
Marc Albrighton (67′)
31
Rachid Ghezzal
28
Christian Fuchs
11
Marc Albrighton
23
Adrien Silva
20
Shinji Okazaki
12
Danny Ward
6
Jonny Evans
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