Sunday 20 September 2015

Match report: Southampton 2-3 United

£36 million man Anthony Martial inspired United to a come from behind victory in a thrilling, see-saw encounter at St Mary's as the Reds moved second in the Premier League.

The Frenchman's dream start to life at Old Trafford continued but United had to work hard for a victory that looked anything but assured after a lightning start from the Saints.

We did not start well and, after Dusan Tadic fired wide early on, Graziano Pelle put Southampton ahead in the 13th minute.

It was a great move from the hosts as Sadio Mane and James Ward-Prowse exchanged passes, Mane was foiled by a brilliant reflex save from David De Gea but Pelle snaffled up the loose ball.

Pelle was causing United- and Daley Blind in particular- all sorts of problems and almost doubled his side's lead when he rifled against the post with the visitors defence flat-footed.

The Reds were on the ropes but weathered the storm and levelled ten minuted before the break.
Saints made a hash of clearing a loose ball and Juan Mata played in Martial who turned his marker and finished calmly.

Having ridden their luck for long periods of the opening half, United benefited further from a massive slice of fortune five minutes after the interval.

Maya Yoshida, without looking, played a suicidal backpass to Maarten Stekelenburg but massively underhit it and Martial raced through, picked his spot and rolled the ball in. 

Memphis Depay went close to a third but Saints remained  a threat and United needed De Gea to react well to keep out a Ward-Prowse free-kick.

The Spanish keeper made an even better save soon after though when he brilliantly clawed away Jose Fonte's goalbound header from a corner before United moved 3-1 ahead on 68 minutes.

A move that did not look like going anywhere suddenly burst into life as Memphis fired off the woodwork but the ball dropped to Mata who tucked home the rebound.

That put United in a position of relative comfort but Southampton came on strong again and, after Pelle headed in Mane's cross in the 86th minute, they almost snatched a  point in a dramatic late rally.

Tadic headed over when well placed, substitute Shane Long went close and De Gea produced a simply stunning stop to tip over Victor Wanyama's dipping drive in the dying minutes as United held on- just. 

United Faithful Man of the Match: Anthony Martial
Overall team performance: 7/10

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