Super Sub helps United win late over Southampton
Cavani with two late goals in victory
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Manchester United left it late coming from behind to beat Southampton 3-2 on Sunday.
Down 2-0 to the Saints in the opening 33 minutes and losing goalkeeper David de Gea, the victory can be described in one word, “resilience”.
That’s how United captain Harry Maguire put it on his Twitter handle @HarryMaguire93 after the match.
“Great resilience, great spirit, great character – that’s something this squad has in abundance.”
Nine minutes into the contest it appeared United earned themselves yet another penalty.
Marcus Rashford tumbled to the ground from a challenge by James Ward-Prowse.
A VAR check showed contact but according to the referee not enough to warrant a penalty.
Southampton against the run of play got the opener on 23 minutes.
The Ward-Prowse corner was nodded in at the near post by Jan Bednarek who got in front of Rashford to head past de Gea.
Seven minutes later some great goalkeeping from Alex McCarthy kept the Saints in front.
A terrible giveaway by him straight to Mason Greenwood but he makes up for it with a brilliant save and an even better one to stone Bruno Fernandes from close-range.
Moments after that save Southampton were 2-0 up.
A brilliant free-kick by Ward-Prowse over the United wall found the top left corner.
The goal was costly for two reasons for United, it put them behind by two and de Gea banged his knee against the post.
He was replaced by Dean Henderson in the second half.
Edinson Cavani also replaced Mason Greenwood, which would prove an inspired change.
In the 53rd minute, Rashford had another great opportunity.
A terrific Reds counter saw the youngster released down the left firing from just inside the box but too close to McCarthy who bailed out the Saints once again.
United’s pressure paid off six minutes later as Aaron Wan-Bissaka found Cavani down the right-wing.
His pinpoint pass was slotted perfectly to Fernandes who put home his 7th Premier League goal of the season.
The Reds got a deserved equalizer on 74 minutes.
A corner from Alex Telles came out to Fernandes to hit from distance.
His shot took a deflection towards Cavani who turned it in with a nice header.
The Saints came close to regaining the lead 11 minutes from time.
Telles failed to clear a dangerous cross in the box, it came to Che Adams whose effort just missed.
In the 92nd minute, Cavani became the hero.
A free-kick played out to Rashford on the left as the Englishmen whipped it into a crowded box finding Cavani whose diving header found the back of the net.
The Tradition Continues
The dramatic victory for the Reds keeps a number of the club’s current streaks intact.
This is the 10th time in their history that United have beaten Southampton while coming from behind.
United hasn’t lost in 10 straight trips to St. Mary’s stadium.
With the loss, the Saints have now gone winless against the Reds in their last nine Premier League games.
United is now the first side in Premier League history to win four consecutive road games despite trailing in each one.
They’ve now won eight straight away games in the Premier League.
Southampton meanwhile will rue another missed opportunity.
The Saints have dropped 25 points from winning positions in the EPL since the start of last season, that’s second only to West Ham at 31.
Southampton’s seven-match unbeaten run also came to an end.
Man of the Match
The super sub Edinson Cavani provided the spark the Reds needed in the second half.
When the Reds signed him from PSG on transfer deadline day many called it a desperate and risky move given his age at 33.
With two goals and an assist, he showed there’s still something left in the tank.
He’s now the second player in club history to be directly involved in 3+ Premier League goals as a substitute.
The only other one was his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said afterward he was happy with how his team responded in the second half.
“After the first half, we played well again. It’s one of those that when you win, they don’t really matter. At the end I was so proud at 2-2 because we did so well. This team is getting better and better and improving which is what I want to see. We are fit.”
In regards to de Gea’s injury, he said: “Let’s have a little check on him (David de Gea). Hopefully, he can be okay for Wednesday but I’m not sure. Dean (Henderson) played well though.”
Southampton’s Ralph Hasenhuttl said his team struggled to contain Cavani.
“They played [Edinson] Cavani and he is very hard to defend against. We couldn’t keep the pressure high on them. We tried everything and made a fantastic game.”
What it means
The victory moves United for the moment in 7th place in the Premier League with 16 points.
Meanwhile, the Saints remain at 17 points in 5th place.
The Reds look to secure a spot in the knockout stage of the Champions League Wednesday when they face PSG at Old Trafford.
United need only a draw to guarantee their place in the last 16, kickoff is at 8 pm.
Their next Premier League action is Saturday at 5:30 from London stadium against West Ham. (JSL)