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Sheffield United 0-1 Southampton: Moussa Djenepo solo goal wins it for Saints

Moussa Djenepo
Moussa Djenepo's goal - his second for the club overall - was decisive at Bramall Lane

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder says his side "have to wise up quickly" after they were beaten by Southampton in a tight game at Bramall Lane.

Saints summer signing Moussa Djenepo scored the deciding goal as he brilliantly weaved through the Blades defence before firing home midway through the second half.

But prior to falling behind, the hosts saw a goal ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee when Oliver McBurnie thought he had put them in front shortly after the break.

The Blades have now won just one of their opening five games on their Premier League return.

"This is a game we should have definitely got something from - at minimum a draw," Wilder told BBC Sport.

"We have got to wise up quickly. With the amount of chances we created, we can't come away not scoring - it is absolutely ridiculous.

"We want to win games and we have to open up, so for us to create 17 chances shows we're playing in a way to try and win games of football. We will always do that."

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'Ridiculous' that Blades didn't score - Wilder

As well as seeing a goal disallowed, the hosts also saw second-half substitute Billy Sharp sent off late on for a rash challenge on Stuart Armstrong, while they were denied a penalty when James Ward-Prowse appeared to handle the ball in the area.

The hosts were the better team for large periods and Blades striker David McGoldrick will rue a string of missed chances, although Angus Gunn was impressive in the Saints goal, making four good saves.

However, Ralph Hassenhuttl's team held firm and had chances of their own before summer signing Djenepo broke the deadlock, notably through Che Adams, who saw his headed effort acrobatically saved by home keeper Dean Henderson.

"I have got to get used to the Premier League, it seems a different game we are involved with. I thought he was correct with the VAR decision [to disallow McBurnie's goal]," Wilder added.

"But I don't understand the handball one, I think Ward-Prowse has handled it when three of our boys are right round it. That has gone against us today but in about four weeks' time we will have someone come out and say 'we got that one wrong'.

"Other bits and pieces I have got to get used to; players going down before there is contact, looking to give the referee a difficult decision. But I have no qualms about Billy's sending off - it was just disappointing because his impact on the game was great."

Victory for Saints means they have claimed back-to-back away league wins for the first time since March 2017 following their win at Brighton prior to the international break.

It also sees them climb to 10th while the Blades slide to 13th.

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Everyone loves Djenepo, and me too - Hasenhuttl

Djenepo's moment of magic

For two sides so closely matched, it is perhaps fitting that it took a moment of magic to separate them, supplied by Djenepo.

The tricky forward displayed his strength to hold off Blades skipper Norwood before exhibiting impressive agility to go past both John Egan and Jack O'Connell, to leave him in space inside the opposition penalty box.

Then, all that was left was the finish, and he delivered it emphatically.

But Hassenhuttl's side were made to work hard for their win, which was only their second in their past nine league games, and central defenders Jannik Vestergaard and Maya Yoshida more than played their part as the hosts applied heavy pressure as the game drew to a close.

"We showed we can switch the shape immediately and key today was we were good from the beginning," Hassenhuttl told BBC Sport.

"We had two big chances in the first half, a bit unlucky and first 15 minutes of the second half the pressure was high from Sheffield. After that we were a little bit better and we tried to calm the game down with possession.

"VAR did a fantastic job, it's fantastic that such a technique is available in the league. Moussa - I must say a big compliment to our physios, they did everything they could for him to play today and he scored a fantastic goal so everybody loves him."

Blades lack finishing touch

The foundations of United's success on their return to the Premier League have been built on hard work and they had that in abundance on Saturday.

They could not, however, find a goal.

In the first half, McGoldrick was denied by Gunn after being sent clear by his strike partner McBurnie.

And then the Republic of Ireland striker put wide from close range when sliding in to meet Norwood's deep free-kick.

Midfielder John Fleck was also guilty of spurning chances, the Scotsman heading over and hitting the side-netting in the opening 45 minutes.

And while they looked to have opened the scoring on 52 minutes, McBurnie's effort was rightly ruled out as VAR showed Egan to be in an offside position when the ball came into the box.

They did not let that setback dampen their spirits, though, and they continued to put Southampton under pressure even after Djenepo's goal.

But it was not to be for Wilder's side, who had four recognised attackers on the pitch at one stage as they pushed for an equaliser, before Sharp's reckless lunge saw him receive the second red card of his career.

Man of the match - Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Southampton)

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
While Moussa Djenepo's brilliant goal won it for the Saints, it was their skipper, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who was the team's heartbeat. He took more touches than anyone else on the pitch and made a team-high 67 passes

'The guys believe in what we are doing' - what they said

Southampton boss Ralph Hassenhuttl on BBC Sport: "We had a difficult start at Burnley then Liverpool, but the guys believe in what we are doing. We knew we could play better than in their first two games but these seven points are very important for us.

"Two away wins in a row is good for us and gives us self-confidence. We have more quality in front this season, we have more options and even Nathan Redmond is injured and he can make a difference."

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder on BBC Sport: "I was unhappy with the first half performance because it wasn't us, was not us but that is our performance today. It's risk and reward, the goal we conceded is nothing to do with shape or tactics, it is a ball given away in the middle of the park.

"We are an open side, that's why we created 17 chances and should have scored, no doubt about it."

First-half droughts continue for both sides - the stats

  • Sheffield United have lost consecutive home Premier League matches for only the second time, also doing so in March 1993 under Dave Bassett.
  • Southampton have won three away games in a row in all competitions without conceding a goal for the first time since March 1986.
  • Sheffield United and Southampton remain the only two sides in the Premier League yet to score a first-half goal this season.
  • Summer signing Moussa Djenepo's second Premier League goal for Southampton came courtesy of just his third shot on target in the competition.
  • Southampton's Sofiane Boufal has registered two assists in his last three Premier League appearances, as many as he managed in his previous 51 in the competition.

Next up

The Saints will now prepare for the visit of Bournemouth on Friday night (20:00 BST) while the Blades travel to Goodison Park to face Everton the next day (15:00 BST).

Line-ups

Sheff Utd

  • 1Henderson
  • 6BashamSubstituted forRobinsonat 84'minutes
  • 12Egan
  • 5O'Connell
  • 2Baldock
  • 7LundstramSubstituted forMoussetat 72'minutes
  • 16Norwood
  • 4FleckBooked at 65mins
  • 3Stevens
  • 17McGoldrick
  • 9McBurnieSubstituted forSharpat 65'minutesBooked at 85mins

Substitutes

  • 8Freeman
  • 10Sharp
  • 11Robinson
  • 22Mousset
  • 23Osborn
  • 25Moore
  • 27Besic

Southampton

  • 28Gunn
  • 35Bednarek
  • 3Yoshida
  • 4VestergaardBooked at 51mins
  • 2Cédric Soares
  • 14Romeu
  • 23Højbjerg
  • 12DjenepoSubstituted forIngsat 74'minutes
  • 16Ward-Prowse
  • 19BoufalSubstituted forArmstrongat 85'minutes
  • 10AdamsSubstituted forLongat 90+2'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1McCarthy
  • 5Stephens
  • 7Long
  • 9Ings
  • 17Armstrong
  • 21Bertrand
  • 43Valery
Referee:
Lee Mason
Attendance:
30,985

Match Stats

Home TeamSheff UtdAway TeamSouthampton
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home17
Away11
Shots on Target
Home4
Away7
Corners
Home12
Away6
Fouls
Home10
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Sheffield United 0, Southampton 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Sheffield United 0, Southampton 1.

Attempt blocked. Dean Henderson (Sheffield United) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Oliver Norwood with a cross.

Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Oriol Romeu.

Foul by Shane Long (Southampton).

Oliver Norwood (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Maya Yoshida (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by David McGoldrick (Sheffield United).

Substitution

Substitution, Southampton. Shane Long replaces Che Adams.

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Enda Stevens.

Offside, Sheffield United. Dean Henderson tries a through ball, but Callum Robinson is caught offside.

Dismissal

Billy Sharp (Sheffield United) is shown the red card.

Foul by Billy Sharp (Sheffield United).

Stuart Armstrong (Southampton) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Southampton. Stuart Armstrong replaces Sofiane Boufal.

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by John Egan.

Substitution

Substitution, Sheffield United. Callum Robinson replaces Chris Basham.

Attempt missed. David McGoldrick (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by George Baldock with a headed pass.

Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Cédric Soares.

Attempt blocked. Lys Mousset (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by John Fleck.

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by John Egan.

Attempt missed. Lys Mousset (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by John Fleck with a headed pass.

Attempt saved. David McGoldrick (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Billy Sharp.

Attempt blocked. John Fleck (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Billy Sharp.

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Billy Sharp (Sheffield United).

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Chris Basham.

Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by James Ward-Prowse.

Substitution

Substitution, Southampton. Danny Ings replaces Moussa Djenepo.

Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Cédric Soares.

Attempt missed. Chris Basham (Sheffield United) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Billy Sharp.

Substitution

Substitution, Sheffield United. Lys Mousset replaces John Lundstram.

Attempt missed. John Fleck (Sheffield United) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Oliver Norwood.

Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Jan Bednarek.

Goal!

Goal! Sheffield United 0, Southampton 1. Moussa Djenepo (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Sofiane Boufal.

Attempt saved. Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by James Ward-Prowse.

Substitution

Substitution, Sheffield United. Billy Sharp replaces Oliver McBurnie.

Booking

John Fleck (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Oliver McBurnie (Sheffield United).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool55001541115
2Man City53111661010
3Tottenham522111658
4Man Utd52218448
5Leicester52216428
6Chelsea5221111108
7Arsenal42116607
8Everton42114407
9West Ham421167-17
10Southampton521256-17
11Crystal Palace521236-37
12Norwich5203912-36
13Burnley512267-15
14Sheff Utd512256-15
15Brighton512258-35
16Bournemouth411258-34
17Newcastle511348-44
18Aston Villa410346-23
19Wolves5032610-43
20Watford401328-61
View full Premier League table

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