By Lee Savery.
Southampton scored a late equaliser to stun Old Trafford and earn a deserved point for the visitors.
The home side had taken the lead on 26 minutes when wonderkid Adnan Januzaj, who earlier signed a new five year contract to stay at United, played a superb through ball to Wayne Rooney whose shot was then blocked by Artur Boruc. Following up though was Robin van Persie who rounded the keeper before slotting home.
The visitors equaliser came two minutes from time when Dejan Lovren bundled the ball towards goal, from James Ward-Prouse’s corner. The ball hit Adam Lallana before going through David de Gea’s legs. Who scored that goal will be decided elsewhere but the Southampton players and their vocal support did not care.
The goal had been coming in an open game that could easily have been a higher score than how it finished. The visitors showed no signs of fearing the United test and dominated as much of the match as the home side. They finished the game with more possession (54%) and with more shots on goal (25-17).
For David Moyes this is another frustrating afternoon as his side failed to see out a game they were leading. It’s more dropped points in a season full of them so far. His tactics will also come into question with some questionable substitutions that played a part in costing them the three points.
The first half had been a pleasing one for United. Southampton had a lot of the ball for early periods but were forced to long range efforts. It took the Van Persie goal to get the team going. Just a few minutes later, Rooney hit the cross bar after meeting Nani’s cross from the right.
The second half saw the Red Devils put the ball into the net but Rooney’s effort was correctly ruled offside. Just after the hour, a spell of chances. Rooney’s cross from the left was met by Van Persie whose header hit the crossbar before it was crossed again to Nani whose header was saved by Boruc. Another corner from the right ended up finding its way to Januzaj who saw his long range effort superbly palmed away by Boruc.
After this Southampton still created chances without fully testing De Gea but they looked threatening on every attack. When the goal eventually came, it felt like an inevitability. A draw felt like a fair result.
More dropped points for Manchester United as frustration continues to build in the early days of the Moyes era.
Manchester United team: De Gea, Rafael, Evra, Jones, Evans, Fellaini (Welbeck 76′), Nani (Giggs 69′), Carrick, Januzaj, van Persie, Rooney (Smalling 87′).
Unused substitutes: Lindegaard, Hernández, Kagawa, Zaha.
United goal: Van Persie 26′
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