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  • Babajide EverBlazin

Defensive Manchester United pips Southampton in narrow clash

Southampton fought hard against Manchester United to the last minute but a moment of quality from Bruno Fernandes was enough to see three Premier League points taken back to Old Trafford.

The Portuguese international executed a superb first-time finish from a not-quite perfect delivery to leave Gavin Bazunu rooted, after the sides were level at half-time.

The two sides started the match evenly with Saints causing some problems at the back for United, Joe Aribo and Adam Armstrong having half-chances inside the area.

The hosts, Saints, had a number of chances to score in the first forty-five minutes, but pushed and could not find a leveller against a resurgent United outfit.

The home side continued to threaten with aerial balls to Adams, and half-chances turned to good ones after the thirty minute mark. Bella-Kotchap and Adams had the ball at feet in the area in quick succession but could not convert.

It was promising going into the break, and that continued in the second-half with Moussa Djenepo drawing a yellow card from Diogo Dalot and Bella-Kotchap’s goal-saving tackle on Anthony Elanga in the box.

However, Portuguese star Fernandes arrived onto a low cross from compatriot Dalot and left Bazunu no chance of dealing with a bottom-corner finish to open the scoring after ten minutes into the second period.

Adams wanted a handball on Scott McTominay as Saints looked to respond, but nothing was awarded with the contact deemed unavoidable, before Aribo had a header well-saved by David De Gea.

Ralph Hasenhüttl's side responded well to going behind, coming close to an equaliser from Joe Aribo's header, but David de Gea was able to palm the effort away. As time ticked away, the hosts pressed for an elusive goal, but a stoppage-time acrobatic bicycle kick from Sékou Mara was as close as they came.

Despite a solid performance, Southampton are ultimately left empty-handed, conceding a club record-extending 99th PL goal to Manchester United in the process.

The visitors meanwhile, ended a horrific streak of seven consecutive PL defeats on the road. their worst away league run since 1936.

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