Manchester United 3 Southampton 2: Romelu Lukaku Powers United To Victory – Report, Comments, Highlights
Alexis Sánchez Changes Game
By Marc Gingell
2nd March 2019
Manchester United bombarded Southampton’s goal for the first five minutes and could have easily been two up. As the ball, ‘ping-ponged’ around Saints six-yard box, it looked only a matter of time before an avalanche of goals would begin. After 88 minutes, of a tense exciting encounter, the teams were still level. A minute later Lukaku stuck the fifth stunning goal of this pulsating match to give United a 3-2 victory.
Manchester United made two changes from the team that won at Crystal Palace. Twenty three year old Brazilian Andreas Pereira came in for his 25 year old fellow countryman Fred, full name Frederico Rodrigues de Paula Santos. Fred ’s clearly not proving too sexy for his United shirt after his £52M move from Shakhtar Donetsk where he scored 10 goals in 101 games for the Ukranian team. Marcus Rashford came in for Diogo Dalot.
Southampton kept the same team that started in their 2-0 home win against Fulham.
An Ole Gunnar Solskjær & Ralph Hasenhüttl Affair
At St. Mary’s, early in December 2018, Southampton stormed in an early 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes. Twenty minutes later the scores were even again with Lukaku scoring one as he always seems to do against Southampton. For Southampton that was the last straw for Mark Hughes and the club had to let him go. For United, they parted company with José Mourinho two weeks later.
Since then Ole and Ralph have stepped in with the number four on their minds. Solskjær wants top four whilst Hasenhüttl is looking at fourth from bottom.
Early Alamo Battle
With Sir Alex Ferguson, looking well and sat in the stands next to Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall, United blasted out of the traps and Gunn did well to save from Lukaku and Perera in the first five minutes. United had the momentum and were going for the jugular until Scott McTominay took a knock in the ninth minute that needed attention. The two-minute break gave Southampton a chance to regroup and they came into the game more.
On 14 minutes the rapidly improving Saints had a good shout for a penalty after Nathan Redmond slide a ball into United’s box where Ryan Bertrand who managed to get the wrong side of Chris Smalling. Smalling pulled Bertrand back and he went down. Referee Stuart Attwell waved play on but didn’t book Bertrand for simulation.
Yann Valery – Stunning Strike
Southampton’s right wing-back Yann Valery, 20 eight days ago and born in Champigny-sur-Marne, France, opened the scoring in the 25th minute. Charlie Austin picked him out in space about 30 yards from United’s goal on their left. Valery needed one touch before blasting a sumptuous shot that arrowed into David De Gea’s top left corner for his first Saints Premier League goal.
Another Penalty Shout
Both sides continued to push with Southampton not content to sit back on their lead. Smalling had a chance with a header from a corner that just went wide although Rashford kept the ball alive which meant more danger for Saints. At the other end, Bertrand tussled with Ashley Young on the edge of United’s box. Bertrand went down. Attwell ignored him but again he didn’t play the simulation yellow card!
The October 1989 Factor!
As the crowd waited for the second half a stat came to mind about the last time Manchester failed to score in three consecutive Old Trafford games in a row. That happened in October the 1989/90 season.
• October 3rd League Cup 2nd Round Second Leg. Manchester United 0 Portsmouth 0
• October 14th First Division: Manchester United 0 Sheffield Wednesday 0
• October 25th League Cup 3rd Round: Manchester United 0 Spurs 3
With blanks against PSG and Liverpool, Southampton had a chance to join their south coast rivals in Theatre of Dreams history.
1989 Mixed Fortunes
United enjoyed mixed fortunes in the 1989/90 season. They finished 13th in the league with Mark Hughes finishing top of the scoring charts with 14 goals. At Wembley, a 59th-minute goal from Lee Martin won United the FA Cup against Crystal Palace. This was in a replay after the two sides drew 3-3.
Mickey Phelan and Thailand
On July 1st, 1989 United signed Mickey Phelan from Norwich for £750,000 and at the end of the month, Bryan Robson scored as United drew 1-1 with a Thai National Eleven. United lost the penalty shoot-out in that one 4-2.
Liverpool won the title, which is the last time they managed that, and Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton, and Millwall were all relegated. Southampton finished seventh but United beat them home and away.
Alexis Sanchez Changes Game
Southampton were dealt a cruel blow in the 50th minute when Alexis Sanchez went down in their box clutching his knee after a challenge from Jan Bednarek. As Sanchez, remained crumpled on the ground holding his knee, his teammates had the ball. Four or five of them had touches but none felt the urge to play the ball out so he could receive attention. They ignored him.
Eventually Southampton bundled the ball out, United’s trainers came on, and Sanchez hobbled away to the dressing room. He seemed relieved to get off the pitch as did the United players and fans.
Andreas Pereira Stunning Strike
Dalot replaced Sanchez and he produced more in his first minute of action than Sanchez managed in fifty. He found Pereira in space, about the same distance out as Valery when he scored, and he curled a spectacular shot passed Gunn into his top left-hand corner. Six minutes late, on 59 minutes, Pereira found Lukaku who fired passed Gunn’s left hand for goal number two. He could have been slightly offside.
James Ward-Prowse Stunning Strike
On 75 minutes it was Southampton’s turn to draw level after Ashley Young’s clumsy challenge on Stuart Armstrong resulted in a free kick. Ward-Prowse stepped up and curled a stunning free kick into De Gea’s top right-hand corner. That’s five goals in his last eight games for JWP.
Romelu Lukaku Stunning Strike
With time running out Fred, fortuitously found Lukaku, on the edge of Southampton’s box and this time he powered an exquisite right foot shot in Gunn’s bottom left-hand corner. A great side-foot finish with immense power. Off came his shirt as he celebrated.
Right at the end Attwell remembered he could award penalties at Old Trafford and he penalised Southampton sub Stuart Armstrong for bringing down Marcus Rashford. Paul Pogba, who’d had a quiet game, stepped up with his usual stuttered run up. He fired straight and Gunn saved well with his left foot as he dived to his right.
A Game Of Stunning Strikes
Southampton, as they have so many times this season, succumbed to a late goal. But if they can take that spirit into their remaining fixtures, they should find enough points to avoid the drop. For United, they are now moving in on Spurs in third place.
Late news came in about Lukaku and Pogba having a disagreement about the last minute penalty and that they had to be separated by Ole Gunnar Solskjær. A report said:
“It was quite a stern conversation and Romelu was clearly not happy about what Pogba had done. He was quick to remind Paul how much he had helped him when he fell out with Mourinho. It needed Ole to calm the situation down.”
In response Lukaku tweeted: “When the hate don’t work they start telling lies…”
Man Utd: De Gea (6), Shaw (7), Lindelof (6), Smalling (7), Young (6), Pogba (6), Pereira (8), McTominay (6), Alexis (6), Lukaku (9), Rashford (7)
Subs: Fred (7), Dalot (8), Chong (6)
Southampton: Gunn (8), Yoshida (6), Vestergaard (7), Bednarek (6), Valery (7), Bertrand (8) Romeu (7), Hojbjerg (7), Ward-Prowse (8), Redmond (7), Austin (6)
Subs: Gallagher (6), Armstrong (6)
Man of the match: Romelu Lukaku
If you have any questions or comments please follow the links below. And, if you would like to like or share, that would be appreciated. Thank you.