Untidy United held by Southampton at St Mary’s

Sunday, August 22nd, 2021 21:01 | By
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba. INSET: Liverpool legend and Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness. Photo/FILE

Southampton repelled a second-half Manchester United fightback to claim their first point of the season with a battling 1-1 draw at St Mary's on Super Sunday.

United trailed Saints at half-time for the second successive season after a Che Adams strike had gone in via a deflection off Fred.

Mason Greenwood equalised nine minutes after the break and, having surrendered a two-goal lead in last season's 3-2 defeat to United, the writing looked on the wall for Southampton in the face of sustained pressure from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's free-flowing side.

But a spirited late surge saw Southampton finish the stronger of the two sides and create the best chance to win the game, with Adam Armstrong denied the winner on his home Saints debut by a stunning late David de Gea save.

An encouraging Southampton start included captain James Ward-Prowse trying to catch De Gea out with a long-range, near-post free-kick, but then came an early spell of United dominance in which the visitors should have taken the lead.

United were denied by the frame of the goal and last-ditch defending on seven minutes when Paul Pogba managed to hook Bruno Fernandes' free-kick onto the bar, before Anthony Martial's follow-up header was cleared off the line to Mohammed Salisu.

The introduction of Jadon Sancho shortly before the hour only intensified the one-way traffic in United's favour and, having set up Greenwood's equaliser, Pogba nearly got on the scoresheet himself, dropping his shoulder to escape the Saint's defence before firing shot inches wide.

Greenwood sent a free header over the bar as United ratcheted up the pressure, with Fernandes forcing McCarthy into action with a near-post header of his own, but just as it seemed the visitors would power on to victory, Southampton found their second wind and should have won the game themselves.

The draw sees United equal the Premier League's unbeaten away record of 27 games - set by Arsenal's Invincible - and lifts Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side up to fourth in the table, while Southampton climb to 13th after getting their first point on the board.

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