Magical Djenepo earns third straight away win

By SFC Media time Sat 14 Sep Sheffield United v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Moussa Djenepo
Sat 14 Sep 3PM
Premier League
Sheffield United
Djenepo [66']
Fleck (65')
yellow card
Vestergaard (51')
Sharp (85')
red card
Referee: Lee Mason | Venue: Bramall Lane | Attendance: 30,985

A moment of magic from Moussa Djenepo at Bramall Lane ensured Southampton recorded a third straight away win without conceding a goal for the first time since 1986.

Following successes at Brighton in the league and Fulham in the cup, Djenepo struck the decisive blow with a sublime solo effort midway through the second half of an engaging contest in south Yorkshire.

Former Blade Ché Adams twice went close to scoring his first Premier League goal in the first half, including a sweet strike against the post, while former Saint Billy Sharp was shown a straight red card for a clumsy challenge in the closing stages.

The visitors were worthy of the points, but did have Angus Gunn to thank for two important saves to deny another ex-Southampton man, David McGoldrick, while VAR also played its part in disallowing Oli McBurnie’s poacher’s effort early in the second half.

Ralph Hasenhüttl made two changes to his side who fought back to earn a point against Manchester United last time out before the international break.

The suspended Kevin Danso, whose second yellow card made for a nervous last 20 minutes at St Mary’s, was replaced by Maya Yoshida, while Djenepo returned from injury in place of Danny Ings, who dropped to the bench.

Both teams traded early corners, with Jannik Vestergaard heading into the arms of Dean Henderson, before Adams came within a whisker of breaking his duck from another set-piece.

James Ward-Prowse’s delivery was cleared only as far as the striker on the edge of the box, whose first-time half-volley crashed against the base of Henderson’s left-hand post with the keeper beaten.

Back came United, roared on by a Yorkshire crowd still riding the wave of Premier League excitement in only their third home game since promotion.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Ché Adams of Southampton heads at goal during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Southampton FC at Bramall Lane on September 14, 2019 in Sheffield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Ché Adams was inches away from opening his Saints account at his former home

There was a gaping hole in the Saints defence as McBurnie released strike partner McGoldrick, but Angus Gunn came flying off his goal-line to spread himself and deny the Irishman with an impressive stop.

Then the diminutive John Fleck headed over, before the same man lashed a shot into the side-netting via a deflection off Yoshida.

This was an entertaining game, as Saints gave as good as they got with some speedy counter-attacks.

First Adams found Djenepo, who opted to go for goal with James Ward-Prowse better placed, before Adams’s first touch ran kindly for Cédric, only for the Portuguese to skew his shot off target from ten yards.

Adams, on his return to his former club, was in the thick of the action again when Ward-Prowse picked him out with a precise cross from the right, but Henderson’s reactions were sharp as he dived to his right to claw out his header.

With ten minutes of the half to go, Saints were relieved to see McGoldrick slide the ball wide from close range as he threw himself at Oliver Norwood’s inswinging free-kick.

Just as the first half seemed to be petering out, another Saints counter threatened to break the deadlock. 

After Adams’s pass to release Sofiane Boufal was picked off, Djenepo seized on the loose ball and spotted the Moroccan, who was still unopposed on the far side of the box, but his first-time shot was smothered by the stooping Henderson.

At the same end of the ground, the Blades were celebrating what they thought was the opener seven minutes into the second half.

Another teasing centre from Norwood, not dissimilar to the one that found McGoldrick late in the first period, ran all the way through for McBurnie to tuck it in the far post.

But Saints were confident VAR would intervene and so it proved, as John Egan was penalised for being in an offside position when he attempted to get a touch on Norwood’s initial free-kick.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Moussa Djenepo of Southampton opens the scoring during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Southampton FC at Bramall Lane on September 14, 2019 in Sheffield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Moussa Djenepo danced through the Sheffield United defence to score the winner

Meanwhile, Adams’s pursuit of a goal on his old stomping ground resumed when he cracked a shot from 25 yards that took a nick off a defender en route to goal, where Henderson was there to parry it to safety.

Sharp made his entrance off the bench 20 minutes into the second period to rapturous applause, but Bramall Lane was temporarily silenced by Djenepo’s moment of magic two minutes later.

After Adams stole possession inside the United half, Djenepo pounced on the loose ball and held off Norwood, before a quick change of feet completed outfoxed the home skipper to send the unpredictable winger surging into the box.

Dropping the shoulder again, he shimmied his way past Jack O’Connell and drove a low shot just inside the post to make the breakthrough and spark jubilant scenes among the travelling fans behind Henderson’s goal.

With the lead secured, Saints enjoyed some sustained possession, but Fleck fired a reminder that the hosts would not go away with a skidding strike that just zipped wide of Gunn’s goal.

Then there was another moment of alarm when a United corner struck Ward-Prowse on the back of the arm, prompting another VAR review, but again the technology ruled in Saints’ favour.

With the final ten minutes approaching, Sharp made his first impact to send in a low cross met by McGoldrick at the near post, who again forced a fine save from Gunn.

Blades’ no 17, another member of the ex-Saints brigade, rifled a dropping ball over the bar as another chance came and went for the promoted side, who refused to lie down.

But the wind was taken out of the red and white sails when Sharp was shown his marching orders five minutes from time – a tackle that looked more ill-judged than malicious, as he caught the Scot on the shin with his studs raised.

Still the home side tried to force a late leveller, throwing Henderson forward for a couple of set-pieces, but Saints kept their concentration and defended manfully to chalk up another victory.

Sheffield United

Head to Head Stats

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Sheffield United

Dean Henderson (GK)
Chris Basham
replace Callum Robinson (84′)
Jack O'Connell
John Egan
Oliver Norwood (C)
Enda Stevens
George Baldock
John Fleck yellow card
John Lundstram
replace Lys Mousset (72′)
Oliver McBurnie
replace Billy Sharp (65′) red card
David McGoldrick
Luke Freeman
Callum Robinson
Simon Moore
Lys Mousset
Ben Osborn
Billy Sharp
Muhamed Besic


Angus Gunn (GK)
Jan Bednarek
Jannik Vestergaard yellow card
Maya Yoshida
Oriol Romeu
Moussa Djenepo goal
replace Danny Ings (74′)
Cédric Soares
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (C)
James Ward-Prowse
Sofiane Boufal
replace Stuart Armstrong (85′)
Che Adams
replace Shane Long (92′)
Shane Long
Danny Ings
Ryan Bertrand
Yan Valery
Alex McCarthy
Stuart Armstrong
Jack Stephens
 Hasenhüttl: Our front line quality is fantastic
Sheffield United v Saints

Hasenhüttl: Our front line quality is fantastic

The Saints boss reserves praises for match-winner Moussa Djenepo.

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