Ten-man Saints battle to United draw

By SFC Media time Sat 31 Aug Saints v Man United
Photo by Matt Watson | Jannik Vestergaard
Sat 31 Aug 12.30PM
Premier League
Manchester United
Vestergaard [58']
James [10']
Danso (19') Armstrong (90+6')
yellow card
Maguire (40') Young (90+4')
Danso (73')
red card
Referee: Mike Dean | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 30,499

Southampton fought back to earn a well-deserved point against Manchester United at St Mary’s courtesy of Jannik Vestergaard’s first goal for the club.

The towering defender rose to meet a second-half cross from Kevin Danso, who was later dismissed for a second yellow card on his home debut, after United had taken an early lead through Daniel James.

Ralph Hasenhüttl made two changes to his last Premier League line-up, handing starts to Cédric and Sofiane Boufal, who both played their part in the midweek Carabao Cup win at Fulham.

The boss had already confirmed the absences of Nathan Redmond, Moussa Djenepo and Michael Obafemi, so this was a chance for the Moroccan to prove his worth.

It didn’t take long for him to make an impression. Saints started with plenty of positive intent, harassing United’s backline at every opportunity, and Boufal tried his luck with a skidding shot from 25 yards that had David De Gea scampering across his goal, relieved to see it run wide of his right-hand post.

But it was United who drew first blood through a stunning strike from James, scoring for the third time in four appearances since his summer arrival from Swansea.

Receiving the ball on the left corner of the box, the Welshman used an overlapping run to step inside and crash an unstoppable strike beyond Gunn’s despairing dive into the top corner.

Suddenly United, previously rushed into every pass, began to take control. The confident James tried another shot, sending Gunn stooping to his left, and another that forced the keeper to parry the ball back into play.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 31: Scott McTominay(L) of Manchester United and Danny Ings(R) of Southampton during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium on August 31, 2019 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Danny Ings battles for possession with Scott McTominay

In between those two saves, Scott McTominay’s far-post cross was met firmly on the volley by the onrushing Aaron Wan-Bissaka, but the right-back couldn’t keep the chance down.

United were enjoying a good spell but Saints would finish the half strongly. 

After Danny Ings’s optimistic volley was watched wide by De Gea, the keeper was relieved to see Scott McTominay come to his aid when Boufal collected an Ings cross and lashed a shot goalwards from 12 yards. A painful blow for the man in black, but no less important.

After Marcus Rashford squandered a counter-attack opportunity, Paul Pogba did the same, passing the ball straight out of play as United showed signs of vulnerability under pressure from Saints’ pressing game, just as they had in the opening minutes. 

It would take time for Saints to impose themselves on the second period, but when they did, Hasenhüttl’s men got their reward.

There was already a moment of concern for United just before the goal, as Saints put together their best move of the game.

The tricky Boufal, whose influence was growing, combined with James Ward-Prowse before releasing Ché Adams with an intricate pass that sat up nicely for the striker, but he lost his composure at the vital moment and lashed the ball high into the Saints fans behind De Gea’s goal.

It was a warning the visitors didn’t heed. When Saints won a corner soon after, Ward-Prowse’s delivery was glanced on by Ings to force a first really telling save from De Gea.

But Saints kept the ball alive, specifically Danso, who stood up an inviting cross to the far post where Vestergaard used his physicality to dominate in the air and send a towering header into the corner of the net.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 31: Jannik Vestergaard(4) of Southampton scores with his head to make it 1-1 during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium on August 31, 2019 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Jannik Vestergaard leaps above Victor Lindelöf to head a 58th-minute leveller

The home crowd firmly behind them, Saints sensed something. Boufal faced up two defenders before delivery a teasing cross that required emergency defensive work from Ashley Young, who took a clattering from the onrushing Ings for his troubles.

But Saints’ momentum was about to be extinguished in the blink of an eye on 73 minutes.

Danso, already booked for a first-half foul on Andreas Pereira, went sliding in on McTominay near the touchline, leaving Mike Dean with no option but to send Saints’ goal creator on his way – a sour end to the Austrian’s home debut.

For all United’s possession and territory from that point, Saints seemed fairly comfortable until the final five minutes.

Substitutes Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood both went close – the former placed one wide, before the latter sent Gunn flying to his right to preserve parity.

Then Young had hearts in mouths went the United skipper sent a curler from distance narrowly past the angle of post and bar with Gunn beaten.

When four added minutes was extended to six by an injury to Cédric, the tension was palpable, but the ten men stood firm to earn a hard-fought point.


Head to Head Stats

Manchester United
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Angus Gunn (GK)
Jannik Vestergaard goal
Kevin Danso red card
Jan Bednarek
Cédric Soares
James Ward-Prowse
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (C)
Sofiane Boufal
replace Stuart Armstrong (71′) yellow card
Oriol Romeu
Che Adams
replace Shane Long (62′)
Danny Ings
replace Maya Yoshida (77′)
Stuart Armstrong
Yan Valery
Alex McCarthy
Daniel N'Lundulu
Jack Stephens
Maya Yoshida
Shane Long

Manchester United

David de Gea (GK)
Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Harry Maguire yellow card
Ashley Young (C) yellow card
Victor Lindelöf
Scott McTominay
replace Mason Greenwood (82′)
Paul Pogba
Andreas Pereira
replace Jesse Lingard (68′)
Juan Mata
replace Nemanja Matic (68′)
Daniel James goal
Marcus Rashford
Mason Greenwood
Jesse Lingard
Axel Tuanzebe
Marcos Rojo
Tahith Chong
Sergio Romero
Nemanja Matic
Vestergaard delighted to be off the mark
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