Premier League: Edinson Cavani managed to score a brace in Manchester United's 2-3 away win against Southampton

Premier League: Supersub Cavani Breaks Saints’ Hearts

Southampton 2-3 Manchester United

Manchester United fought back from 2-0 down to take all three points away from Southampton today, as substitute Edinson Cavani scored a stunning second-half brace.

Premier League: Southampton vs Manchester United is usually a safe bet for a couple of hours of great entertainment and it certainly delivered today. After Jan Bednarek headed the Saints into a lead, a peach of a free-kick from James Ward-Prowse doubled their advantage before the break.

Bruno Fernandes halved the deficit early in the second half and when Edinson Cavani levelled to set up a grandstand finish, it seemed almost inevitable that another goal would come; but we waited until the 92nd minute for the Uruguayan to score the winner.

 

Highlights of the game

In a breathless first half the Red Devils were on top for the opening 20 minutes, and thought they had a penalty when Marcus Rashford fell under a challenge from Ward-Prowse. The referee, Jon Moss, was unimpressed and VAR took a look and backed him up, but the Saints were sweating. And they survived another close call, on 16 minutes, when Fernandes took aim from 25 yards and his effort clipped the post.

Premier League: James Ward-Prowse scored a goal in the 33rd minute of Southampton's 2-3 defeat against Manchester United

Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse in action against Manchester United

But the Saints went ahead, midway through the first half, and it was a brilliant delivery from Ward-Prowse which opened up the Red Devils defence. He swung a corner in right onto the head of Bednarek at the near post, and the defender glanced it beyond the despairing dive of David de Gea.

The goal switched the balance of play and Kyle Walker-Peters almost doubled the lead when he cut in from the right, but his low shot was deflected onto the post

McCarthey almost gifted United an equaliser, casually passing the ball out to the feet of Mason Greenwood, but he redeemed himself with a brilliant double save, first from Greenwood and then from Fernandes as the Portuguese star looked to convert the rebound. And the Red Devils were left to rue that missed chance when the Saints doubled their lead.

Fred was careless to give away a free-kick just beyond the left edge of the penalty area and he was made to pay. Ward-Prowse measured it up and then curled a beauty just inside the left post, De Gea actually did well to get a hand to it, and he hurt himself in trying. It’s worth looking at the Southampton vs Manchester United highlights all over again for that moment alone.

De Gea kept United in the game with a save from Moussa Djenepo’s powerful drive as they went into half time 2-0 down. The pre-match Southampton vs Manchester United betting odds offered the Saints up at 3.55 and that looked pretty good after 45 minutes.

But that was about to change.

United made two changes at the break, bringing on Dean Henderson to replace the injured De Gea, and Cavani came on for Greenwood. It was Henderson’s league debut for the Red Devils having spent last season on loan at Sheffield United. And he handled his first test well, holding onto a shot from Theo Walcott.

Cavani had a half-chance which was deflected over the bar and then, on the hour, United pulled one back to set things up nicely for the final 30. Cavani picked out Fernandes with a super ball and the Red Devils’ top scorer made no mistake, firing beyond McCarthy and into the net for his seventh of the season.

 

Southampton continued to threaten but United had the momentum, and Cavani was inches away with a glancing header. And then, on 74 minutes the Uruguayan striker scored his second goal for the Red Devils. Fernandes fired a ball into the box which was deflected up into the path of Cavani and he headed home a classic poacher’s goal.

And when five minutes went up for injury time, the Red Devils rolled back the years. Rashford swung a cross in and Cavani was there at the near post to head home.

 

Key statistics

Here at SBOTOP we backed over 2.50 goals, and with a shot count of 10 to 12 in favour of the Red Devils and five each on target, there was plenty of goalmouth action.

The late drama ended Southampton’s seven-match unbeaten run, as the Red Devils broke a club record to win an eighth successive away win.

Southampton’s second goal was Ward Prowse’s ninth direct free-kick goal in the Premier League.

 

What’s next?

Next up Manchester United are back in Champions League action at home to Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.

Rashford scored a hat-trick as the Red Devils hammered Red Bull 5-0 in October to put United’s Euro destiny in their own hands; and a positive result against PSG could see them through to the knockout phase.

Meanwhile, the Saints have a fabulous opportunity to pick up more points over the next two weeks. First they head along the south coast to play Brighton, before welcoming bottom club Sheffield United to St Mary’s.

 

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