December 1, 2020

Southampton score injury-time equaliser to deny Man Utd top-four spot

Southampton have avoided defeat in both Premier League matches against Manchester United for the second time, after doing so in 2013-14 (both 1-1 draws)

Southampton substitute Michael Obafemi’s 96th-minute equaliser prevented Manchester United from jumping up to third place and leaves their Champions League qualification still in the balance.

United led 2-1 for 73 minutes after Marcus Rashford had slotted home an equaliser and Anthony Martial fired a superb second three minutes later.

They were on course to leapfrog top-four rivals Chelsea and Leicester but Obafemi bundled in a set-piece at the back post deep in stoppage time after it had been flicked on by Jan Bednarek.

The Saints had initially taken the lead through Stuart Armstrong’s 12th-minute strike, following Paul Pogba’s mistake, and after fighting back to draw, they now sit five points outside of the top 10 and level on points with Everton.

United remain fifth with three games left despite defeats for rivals Chelsea and Leicester over the weekend – but will still qualify for the Champions League if they win their last three games, as they travel to the King Power Stadium on the final day of the season.

United chained to fifth spot

United’s fate remains in their own hands.

But the late goal from Obafemi came as a blow for United, who had been the better side for most of the match.

They had chances to extend their lead at 2-1 – Martial proving a constant threat throughout, while Rashford came close with a driven effort from long range after having a goal ruled out for offside in the first half.

But the Saints never looked out of it and the clinical edge United had shown coming into this match – they had scored 15 goals in their five previous games – seemed to evade them in the second half when Rashford’s effort was blocked on the line by a sliding Ryan Bertrand.

There will be concern for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over Luke Shaw, who hobbled off in the second half after he seemed to twist his ankle, before Brandon Williams took a heavy blow to the head.

However, United’s hopes of Champions League football are still very much alive – and Chelsea must respond in Tuesday’s home match against relegated Norwich City.

More to follow.