Adams's long-range stunner shocks City

By SFC Media time Sun 05 Jul Southampton v Man City
Photo by Matt Watson
Sun 05 Jul 7PM
Premier League
Manchester City
Adams [16']
Romeu (45')
yellow card
Fernandinho (57') Jesus (86')
Referee: Andre Marriner | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 0

Ché Adams opened his goalscoring account in unforgettable fashion as Southampton stunned a Manchester City side who had dismantled the Premier League champions just 72 hours prior.

The striker showed tremendous self-belief to embarrass Ederson with a 45-yard lob in the 16th minute as Saints made a mockery of their 2019/20 home record with a remarkably spirited display in which goalkeeper Alex McCarthy excelled.

it was the first time Saints had tasted victory over Man City in nine attempts on a night only missing a capacity crowd inside St Mary’s, as fans instead gathered at home among the watching millions on the BBC.

Ralph Hasenhüttl made three changes to his side ahead of a breathless end to the season that will see Saints play six games in 22 days.

Jack Stephens returned from suspension to partner Jan Bednarek at the heart of the defence, while Stuart Armstrong and Adams were restored to the midfield and attack respectively, with Jannik Vestergaard, Will Smallbone and Shane Long dropping to the bench.

Saints made it clear from the start they were prepared to press their opponents, who adopted their usual tactic of building from the back and inviting goalkeeper Ederson out of his penalty area to join in.

On one occasion Ederson’s radar was off as Armstrong intercepted, leading to a chance for Adams that the striker rather snatched at, inadvertently finding Nathan Redmond instead, but the ball came to his teammate at such pace that Redmond could not capitalise on the chance.

City’s casual approach landed them in even deeper trouble when the moment Adams had waited an entire year to arrive finally came in spectacular fashion in the 16th minute.

This time left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko was caught in possession on the edge of the centre circle by Armstrong, who poked the ball into the path of Adams.

Spotting Ederson miles out of his goal, the striker executed a quite brilliant first-time shot from all of 45 yards that started well outside the keeper’s left-hand post and curled immaculately into the centre of the goal, bouncing up into the roof of the net as his teammates ran to congratulate Saints’ most popular goalscorer.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 05: Ché Adams goial celebration during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Manchester City at St Mary's Stadium on July 5, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Ché Adams celebrates his first-half wonder goal to open his Saints account

Saints would have anticipated a response and City did not disappoint. Joao Cancelo’s driven cross picked out Gabriel Jesus at the far post, who was only three yards from goal, but it was a tricky one to control and the ball flew off his outstretched boot and over the bar.

Then the hosts survived a quadruple threat started by McCarthy’s save to deny Raheem Sterling, whose fizzing shot was heading inside the near post – the same post Fernandinho struck seconds later with a 20-yard daisy cutter, while McCarthy made an even better stop to thwart David Silva’s close-range header before Sterling whistled one just past the post to complete a heart-stopping passage of play.

McCarthy would have been expecting a busy evening but appeared ready for it, next keeping out Riyad Mahrez with an outstretched boot as the winger tried to place one inside the far post.

Twice Saints launched counter-attacks of their own in which space opened up for Redmond to test Ederson. Having squandered the first opportunity by firing high into the empty stand, he kept the Brazilian on his toes with a dipping shot that bounced awkwardly but was well dealt with.

Danny Ings is usually Saints’ chief goal threat and he was in the right place to add to his tally of 21 for the season when picked out by Kyle Walker-Peters, but was stretching for the cross and unable to control a difficult volley that sailed over.

More encouragement for Hasenhüttl regardless, whose side’s half-time lead was just reward for their brave, high-intensity approach.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 05: Jan Bednarek (L) and Alex McCarthy (R) during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Manchester City at St Mary's Stadium on July 5, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Chris Moorhouse /Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Alex McCarthy was well protected by a committed team performance

City were never likely to go quietly and McCarthy would have to remain alert in the early stages of the second half – first stooping to save one-handed from Jesus’s downward header, before smothering Silva’s low shot when the skipper seemed certain to equalise.

Pep Guardiola was suitably concerned to send for the cavalry before the hour mark, introducing young starlet Phil Foden and the influential Kevin De Bruyne – the bookies’ favourite to be crowned Player of the Year.

There would have been some relief to see the back of wingers Sterling and Mahrez, but things were not about to get any easier.

The commitment Hasenhüttl had called for to outwork the opposition was evident, as three quarters of his backline threw themselves at a Bernardo Silva shot, getting just enough of a touch between them to send the ball spinning wide, before McCarthy made another save from another Jesus header.

Adams’s day to remember lasted 70 minutes, as Long entered the fray to ensure there would be no let up for the visiting defence.

Still Saints sensed their moments to add a second, which at this stage looked likely to kill the game, but Ederson saved well with his legs to deny Armstrong as time began to run out on City.

Bednarek crucially stuck out a leg to halt Jesus in full flight as the game entered five added minutes that turned into seven, but Bernardo Silva's volley wide was as close as Guardiola's stars came to spoiling the party.

Tonight's Match Sponsor: Virgin Media

Head to Head Stats

Manchester City
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Alex McCarthy (GK)
Jack Stephens
Ryan Bertrand
Jan Bednarek
Kyle Walker-Peters
Stuart Armstrong
replace William Smallbone (97′)
Nathan Redmond
James Ward-Prowse (C)
Oriol Romeu yellow card
Che Adams goal
replace Shane Long (70′)
Danny Ings
William Smallbone
Alexandre Jankewitz
Shane Long
Kevin Danso
Will Ferry
Michael Obafemi
Moussa Djenepo
Angus Gunn
Jake Vokins

Manchester City

Ederson (GK)
João Cancelo
Aymeric Laporte
Oleksandr Zinchenko
Eric García
David Silva (C)
Bernardo Silva
Fernandinho yellow card
Riyad Mahrez
replace Kevin De Bruyne (59′)
Gabriel Jesus yellow card
Raheem Sterling
replace Phil Foden (59′)
Nicolás Otamendi
Kevin De Bruyne
Claudio Bravo
Phil Foden
Tommy Doyle
John Stones
Taylor Harwood-Bellis
Ilkay Gündogan
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