EFL Cup Fourth Round
St Mary’s Stadium
Two games in one day is starting to become a common theme for a Wednesday and long may it continue!
Last week I watched University of Southampton third team entertain University of Bristol in a 2pm kick off BUCS fixture before heading over to Locks Heath in the evening.
Today, I headed back to Wide Lane, this time to watch University of Southampton’s first team as they lost 5-0 to Swansea University before heading back towards the city centre for Southampton’s EFL Cup game with Sunderland.
This is my fifth trip to St Mary’s this season alone so feel free to visit the rest of my site to see my comments from my previous trips.
Southampton’s record £16 million signing Sofiane Boufal scored a wonder strike on his full debut as the Saints edged past Sunderland to set up a quarter-final EFL Cup tie with Arsenal.
Boufal, who joined from Lille in August, was starting his first game in Saints colours and fired a beautiful shot into the top corner from the edge of the box with 66 minutes on the clock.
The game had produced very little with just three shots on target in the whole game for both sides and Victor Anichebe was denied a late penalty that could have forced extra time.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had a great chance early on for the home side but former Chelsea defender Papy Djilobodji managed to block the long-range effort.
Sunderland had a little spell of attack and thought that they could have had a penalty when Duncan Watmore was caught by Sam McQueen after a good run into the box after playing his pass to Billy Jones, however referee Chris Kavanagh let play go on.
Claude Puel was forced into an early substitution when Jay Rodriguez picked up an injury, allowing academy graduate Olufela Olomola to make his debut in front of an expectant home crowd. The 19-year-old was straight out of the blocks, nearly nicking the ball off Lamine Kone before continuing his run to chase down the next player with the ball with Puel frantically telling the forward to calm down, clearly excited for his opportunity to impress.
The game was pretty dead for the most part and it continued in similar fashion in the second period before an individual moment of magic just after the hour mark. As Sunderland cleared the ball, Jose Fonte hoofed it up in the air and it landed to Boufal who controlled it exquisitely, cut inside just in the corner of the box and unleashed a rocket into the top corner with nothing Jordan Pickford could do in the opposition goal.
Paddy McNair was close to pulling things level for the Black Cats when he rose highest at the back post from a corner and headed at goal, only for a combination of the base of the post and Lloyd Isgrove’s foot to deny a certain goal.
David Moyes brought on Jermaine Defoe to try and pull the scores level as the former Portsmouth striker entered the pitch to a chorus of boos from the home fans.
Watmore played a lovely through ball to Defoe who had got the better of Jack Stephens but Alex McCarthy did excellently to save the shot at his near post, pushing it out for a corner.
As the minutes ticked on, Victor Anichebe was tripped by Maya Yoshida on the edge of the box for what looked like a certain penalty, however play went on, angering Moyes who was soon sent to stand for his protests.
Saints held on to their slender advantage to secure a trip to the Emirates Stadium in the quarter-finals.
2016/17 Games: 48
2016/17 Grounds: 40
Total Grounds Visited: 176