Ten-man Saints battle to United draw

By SFC Media Sat 31 Aug Saints v Man United
Photo by Matt Watson | Jannik Vestergaard
Sat 31 Aug 12.30PM
Premier League
Southampton
1
Manchester United
1
Vestergaard [58']
James [10']
Danso (19') Armstrong (90+6')
Maguire (40') Young (90+4')
Danso (73')
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.

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.

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.

Southampton

Head to Head Stats

Manchester United
  • Possession (%)
    41
    59
  • Shots
    10
    21
  • Shots on target
    2
    8
  • Corners
    2
    3
  • Passes Complete
    276
    427

Southampton

28
Angus Gunn (GK)
38
Kevin Danso
35
Jan Bednarek
2
Cédric Soares
4
Jannik Vestergaard
16
James Ward-Prowse
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (C)
19
Sofiane Boufal
Stuart Armstrong (71′)
14
Oriol Romeu
10
Che Adams
Shane Long (62′)
9
Danny Ings
Maya Yoshida (77′)
7
Shane Long
17
Stuart Armstrong
43
Yan Valery
1
Alex McCarthy
40
Daniel N'Lundulu
5
Jack Stephens
3
Maya Yoshida

Manchester United

1
David de Gea (GK)
5
Harry Maguire
18
Ashley Young (C)
2
Victor Lindelöf
29
Aaron Wan-Bissaka
39
Scott McTominay
Mason Greenwood (82′)
6
Paul Pogba
15
Andreas Pereira
Jesse Lingard (68′)
8
Juan Mata
Nemanja Matic (68′)
21
Daniel James
10
Marcus Rashford
31
Nemanja Matic
26
Mason Greenwood
14
Jesse Lingard
38
Axel Tuanzebe
16
Marcos Rojo
44
Tahith Chong
22
Sergio Romero
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