Southampton beat Leeds United to record their first win of the season. Armando Broja scored the only goal as Southampton claimed their first win of the Premier League season against an injury-hit and off-colour Leeds in a largely uninspiring game at St Mary’s.
The Slough-born Albanian international striker, on loan from Chelsea, fired his first English top-flight goal high into the net after he was set up by Nathan Redmond at the end of a swift counter-attack in the second-half.
The Saints had been the better side and looked far more likely to break the deadlock throughout, but also suffered from a familiar lack of cutting edge in front of goal.
Prior to the goal, their best chances came from corners, with Broja glancing one header wide and flicking on a second that Mohamed Elyounoussi was inches from converting at the back post.
Leeds, who were missing a number of senior players, including Patrick Bamford, Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha, only had two shots.
Jack Harrison’s drive – deflected over by Mohammed Salisu – was the closest they came but Daniel James also put a good chance past the post after he had nipped in to claim the ball off Salisu in the box.
The win takes Southampton to seven points and 15th place, a point and two league positions better off than Leeds. Saints finally get their march under way
This was not a game for the neutrals.
But then Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl had suggested as much in his pre-match press conference in which he stated the game would “not be a five course dinner”.
The absence of star performers on both sides did not help, with the home side missing the suspended James Ward-Prowse for the first time in the league since December 2018 and Leeds gutted by injury and the need to rest Raphinha following his exploits for Brazil on Friday.
But Southampton had all the necessary attributes on their side – discipline, cohesion, determination and, for the one moment that mattered, composure.
Danny Ings’ sale in the summer stripped them of the one man that could be relied upon for a decent finish and they have noticeably struggled without him in the early stages of this season.
However in Broja they have a raw talent, borrowed from Chelsea, who could well grow into the man they need, at least for this campaign.
His finish was a fine one, stroked high past the diving Illan Meslier to end a move that began as a Leeds attack broke down, with Nathan Redmond released to provide a low cross invitingly into the striker’s feet.
Having out-shot Leeds 19-3, the home side would have been kicking themselves had they not taken all three points, especially with Leeds so painfully out of sorts.
Leeds meanwhile were not the bold, brave side Marcelo Bielsa brought into the Premier League last season, but a pale imitation in dire need of regularly fit players and a spark to ignite their campaign.
Source – BBC News