Manchester United 1-1 Southampton: Adam Lallana Goal Earns Saints a Point at Old Trafford

    Tim Hearn
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    (AFP -ImagebankIL)

    Adam Lallana scored an 89th minute equaliser to salvage a deserved point for Southampton in a game which they dominated possession. Robin Van Persie had earlier put the Red Devils into the lead sweeping in the rebound after Wayne Rooney's effort had been blocked by Artur Boruc. The second half saw Southampton keep possession for long periods without troubling David De Gea and although Van Persie headed against the bar they were not to be denied as Lallana got the final touch after James Ward-Prowse's corner had been knocked towards the goal by Dejan Lovren.


    The point sees the Saints hold onto fourth position whilst United stay in eighth four points behind their opponents. Pochettino will again be pleased with his teams persistence and fighting qualities as they scored a late goal for the third time this season whereas David Moyes will be worried by his teams lack of penetration although Adnan Januzaj again performed admirably.


    Moyes started with Jonny Evans and Phil Jones in defence with fit again Van Persie leading the line. Januzaj started once more after signing a five year contract with the Champions whilst Southampton made two changes, Luke Shaw replacing Danny Fox and more surprisingly Rickie Lambert started on the bench, his place taken by Jay Rodriguez.


    Saints started on the front foot and carved out the first chance on 7 minutes, a cross from Steven Davis found Rodriguez at the back post but he couldnt control his header. They continued to press the United defence as to which they have been accustomed to and forced them into stray passes as Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama picked up the pieces.


    The home side showed that they were still dangerous coming forward when Van Persie almost put United ahead on 10 minutes, his audacious effort from the right side just missing the left hand post with Boruc stranded. Moments later Van Persie was all alone in the area after being found by Nani but his effort this time was straight at Boruc.


    Southampton then had the best opportunity of the half, Wanyama pressured Rooney into a mistake and Lallana fed Osvaldo in the box, he had more time than he realised and his first time effort was easily saved by De Gea. The Saints were made to pay for the missed chance as the home side swept upfield and took the lead on 25 minutes. Januzaj played a lovely ball round the back of Lovren which Rooney, just onside, latched onto, his effort was well saved by Boruc but the rebound fell to Van Persie and he swept the ball home from the left evading the attempted sliding clearance by Lovren.


    The goal settled United and almost immediately Rooney nearly made it two, good work from Nani down the right saw him find Rooney in the box and after taking a touch fired an effort against the bar from 10 yards with Boruc static. Saints however were not overawed by this set back and continued to move the ball around and finished the half the stronger. Wanyama's persistance earned them a free kick on the edge but Shaw hit the wall as the sides went in for half time.


    The second half started in the same vein, Southampton pressed, kept the ball but could not find the killer pass in the final third. The visitors made their first expected change on 55 minutes, Lambert replacing Rodriguez as United had their best spell of the second half. Rooney put the ball in the net on 60 minutes but had strayed offside and shortly after Van Persie headed a corner against the bar. In the same move Januzaj saw his swirling twenty yarder well saved by Boruc, Fellaini pounced on the rebound but saw his effort blocked by Lovren.


    The home crowd had now become anxious as the Southampton fans were the only ones to be heard. Both teams made changes mid way through the second half, James Ward-Prowse replacing the hard working Steven Davis and Ryan Giggs coming on for Nani although Southampton continued to carve out the half chances, Lallana this time fired staright at De Gea after quick feet had given him a yard on the edge of the area. 


    With 15 minutes left Schneiderlin strode down the middle but his effort did not match his run as it trickled wide and with Southampton looking for the equaliser United were hitting them on the break, Welbeck found himself one on one with Boruc but great recovery work and tackle from Schneiderlin averted the danger. Dani Osvaldo headed two efforts wide as he and Lambert had been well marshalled by Evans and Jones respectively. 


    Five minutes remained when Nathaniel Clyne received the ball in the area on the right hand side but his effort was well saved by De Gea at his near post.


    As we entered the final minute Southampton finally got their deserved equaliser, Ward-Prowse's excellent inswinging corner found Lovren and as he directed the ball goalwards Lallana touched the ball between De Gea's legs although Lovren wheeled away to celebrate in front of the jubilant away fans. 


    Five minutes of injury time were played through without any further alarm although Rafael did fall to the ground looking for a penalty, the referee waved play on. The final whistle blew to scenes of hysteria as Southampton proved they can mix it with the top four.