Romelu Lukakus late winner secured a thrilling 3-2 victory for Manchester United over Southampton at Old Trafford
Ole Gunnar Solskjrs 10th win in 12 Premier League games did not come without a scare Manchester United trailed at the interval to Yan Valerys stunning strike and had to overcome spirited resistance when Southampton fought back to 2-2 late in the second half but two goals from a rejuvenated Romelu Lukaku kept their revival on the road.
Paul Pogba missed the chance to give the scoreline a flattering gloss when he saw a stoppage-time penalty saved, though going down to four goals would have been very hard on a spirited Southampton. Romelu is a quality striker with a goalscorers instincts, Solskjr said. He knows what he wants to do and he has the ability to deliver it.
Lukaku nevertheless needed time to warm up. United began as if they intended to have the game wrapped up by half-time and Southampton were indebted to Angus Gunn for three saves in the first six minutes that prevented the home side taking an early lead. The Saints goalkeeper tipped a Lukaku shot round a post, did well to react to a cheeky attempt from distance by Andreas Pereira and then saved at close range from Lukaku again when the striker should really have scored.
After surviving that initial onslaught Southampton began to push their opponents back and grow into the game, gradually asserting authority over a fairly callow United midfield. They could have taken the lead after 12 minutes when Jannik Vestergaard climbed unchallenged to meet a James Ward-Prowse corner and headed wastefully over the bar, and might have had a penalty when Chris Smalling got away with a blatant tug on Ryan Bertrands shirt.
In an effort to break the Southampton press Paul Pogba made a length-of-the-field break up the left, helped by Lukaku on the halfway line, but held on to the ball a fraction too long for his intended target Marcus Rashford to stay onside. Pogba was possibly at fault, however, when Southampton took the lead a few minutes later at least, there was no one in his position on the left side of midfield when Charlie Austin found Valery in miles of space.
Taking advantage of Luke Shaw backing off with his hands behind his back, the Southampton wing-back advanced a couple of paces before unleashing a ferocious shot that beat David de Gea from a good five yards outside the area. The goalkeeper managed to get hands to the ball but could not keep it out, only succeeding in pushing it into his top-left corner. It was the 20-year-olds first goal in English football and he is unlikely to ever score a better one.
When the already ineffective Alexis Snchez departed injured five minutes into the second half it appeared United might be struggling for an attacking replacement when the full-back Diogo Dalot took his place. The opposite proved to be the case. With his first touch of the afternoon Dalot produced a cross to the far post from which Rashford should have hit the target, and with his second he teed up Pereira for the games second goal-of-the-month contender.
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