Obafemi hits Saints winner

By SFC Media time Tue 27 Aug Fulham v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson
Tue 27 Aug 7.45PM
Carabao Cup
Obafemi [57']
Johansen (47') Le Marchand (71')
yellow card
Danso (6') Ward-Prowse (8')
Referee: Robert Jones | Venue: Craven Cottage | Attendance: 8,467

Teenage striker Michael Obafemi earned Southampton a place in the Carabao Cup third round after netting the winner against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Tuesday evening.

The 19-year-old registered a second senior goal of his fledgling career, astutely turning home Nathan Redmond’s cross at the back post in the second half.

The only disappointment, on an otherwise fruitful evening, was that both Redmond and Obafemi were then withdrawn early with respective injury fears.

Nevertheless, the win means Saints have registered back-to-back away victories for the first time this year, following Saturday’s 2-0 triumph at Brighton - the perfect preparation for a tough clash with Manchester United at St Mary’s in four day's time.

Ralph Hasenhüttl made a host of changes ahead Saints’ first taste of 2019/20 cup action, most notably, handing Moussa Dejenpo his full debut after he scored from the bench against Brighton three days prior.

Fulham, fielding a more regular starting XI, started the brighter and played, for the majority, like a side who will challenge for their place back in the Premier League this term.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Michael Obafemi of Southampton during the Carabao Cup second round match between Fulham and Southampton FC at Craven Cottage on August 27, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Michael Obafemi in the first half at Craven Cottage

Fulham’s first chance was fashioned from a breakaway in the fifth minute, as Aboubakar Kamara was hauled down by Kevin Danso. Saints’ latest defensive recruit was perhaps a little heavy handed with the winger, allowing Bobby Reid the chance to strike from a dead ball.

His curling effort rattled the crossbar, before Alex McCarthy denied Cyrus Christie on the follow up, tipping over his upright from the full-back’s header.

Both James Ward-Prowse and Danso, for his previous challenge on Kamara, went into the book early on, as the hosts were the first to sustain a spell of attacking pressure.

Luca De La Torre raced down the right in the 18th minute, but dragged his shot narrowly wide, before Saints mimicked a similar move at the opposite end, but Cédric’s cross evaded youngster Obafemi.

Djenepo might have had a legitimate claim for a penalty kick in the 32nd minute, when released by Redmond, but nothing came of it. He looked to have edged in front of Christie when the full-back nudged him over; referee Richard Jones remained uninterested.

Reid again went close in the 35th minute, linking well with De La Torre, whose cute lay-off found the striker’s feet in space, but the eventual shot was wayward.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Kevin Danson of Southampton during the Carabao Cup second round match between Fulham and Southampton FC at Craven Cottage on August 27, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Kevin Danso on his first Carabao Cup appearance against Fulham

Redmond tested Marek Rodak – his first save of the evening – two minutes later, driving towards goal before wrapping his boot around the shot; corner given. The ball was eventually worked to Djenepo, but his fierce drive was charged down by Kevin McDonald.

Very little separated the sides as the break approached; the last action of a relatively lacklustre half was another Redmond effort which only found the stands at Craven Cottage.

Ward-Prowse had the first sight of goal after the restart when McDonald tripped Sofiane Boufal, rather cynically. The midfielder went directly for goal, expectedly so, but the effort had too much pace on it.

Then, a golden opportunity presented itself. The best of a particularly cagey tie thus far.

Saints were pressing high, sensing danger, and forced Rodak into a clumsy pass towards Stefan Johansen, which was intercepted by Oriol Romeu. The midfielder settled himself before firing at goal, forcing a superb save from the Fulham stopper, who atoned for his earlier error.

The breakthrough was imminent, though. Redmond was lurking at the back post moments after Romeu’s chance, heading a difficult opportunity marginally wide, before escaping down the left to create an opening for gleeful Obafemi.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Michael Obafemi of Southampton celebrates after opening the scoring  during the Carabao Cup second round match between Fulham and Southampton FC at Craven Cottage on August 27, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Michael Obafemi nets his second senior goal for Southampton

The pair linked just as they did for the young striker’s first senior goal against Huddersfield Town last season, as he raced onto Redmond’s square pass, turning home at the back post in the 57th minute.

Saints found their stride thereafter, certainly where possession was concerned. The introduction of Danny Ings and Shane Long midway through the half caused yet more defensive problems for the hosts, as the Premier League outfit began to assert their dominance.

Ings tested Rodak from a tight angle, shortly after his entry, who spread himself to good effect, before a purposeful burst from Redmond into shooting territory signalled another effort at goal, which was slightly wide of the mark.

Five minutes from time, the substitute again tested Rodak’s resolve – who by this point, was keeping his side in the tie. Again the stopper saved before denying Maya Yoshida from the resulting corner.

Boufal, who had been a handful all night, saw his free-kick fly into the wall in stoppage time - the last of a few presentable chances for Hasenhüttl's side. Saints were good value for the win, and will take their place in the Carabao Cup's third round draw, which takes place on Wednesday night following the conclusion of Lincoln City's meeting with Everton.


Head to Head Stats

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Marek Rodák (GK)
Maxime Le Marchand yellow card
Joe Bryan
Cyrus Christie
Kevin McDonald (C)
Aboubakar Kamara
replace Martell Taylor-Crossdale (92′)
Luca De La Torre
replace Benjamin Davis (90′)
Stefan Johansen yellow card
replace Tyrese Francois (80′)
Matt O'Riley
Josh Onomah
Bobby De Cordova-Reid
Steven Sessegnon
Benjamin Davis
Tyrese Francois
Magnus Norman
Denis Odoi
Jerome Opoku
Martell Taylor-Crossdale


Alex McCarthy (GK)
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (C)
Jan Bednarek
replace Maya Yoshida (60′)
Cédric Soares
Kevin Danso yellow card
Oriol Romeu
James Ward-Prowse yellow card
Moussa Djenepo
Sofiane Boufal
Nathan Redmond
replace Shane Long (76′)
Michael Obafemi goal
replace Danny Ings (68′)
Maya Yoshida
Stuart Armstrong
Yan Valery
Danny Ings
Shane Long
Angus Gunn
Jack Stephens
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