Sergio Romero put in a man-of-the-match performance which included a penalty save, as Manchester United held Southampton to a 0-0 draw at St Mary’s.
Southampton went into the game having not scored at St Mary’s for around five hours, yet they took the game to Manchester United, who fielded a rather strong side considering their Europa League final on Wednesday against Ajax in Stockholm.
Southampton were awarded a penalty after five minutes, as a cross-field ball from Cedric looked fairly easy to deal with for Eric Bailly, however Mike Dean judged Bailly to have controlled the ball with his hand, despite replays showing the incident occurred slightly outside the box. Although Southampton had missed their previous three penalties, fans were confident that Manolo Gabbiadini could convert, however Romero guessed right, went low and saved Gabbiadini’s effort, which set the tone for a frustrating game for Saints.
Bailly nearly redeemed himself, as he went on an adventurous run from his right back position, right into the box and forced Fraser Forster into a reflex save, although the shot was fairly into him.
Chances were falling to various players on both sides, notably Anthony Martial’s shot went wide of Forster’s goal and James Ward-Prowse’s free kick went wide of Romero’s goal.
Into the second half, Southampton’s worked free kick between Ward-Prowse and Dusan Tadic was well saved by Romero, Oriol Romeu had a potshot which was saved by Romero, Ward-Prowse forced Romero into an exceptional save as he had a shot which was headed into the top corner.
However, Manchester United went closest to a goal as Martial’s finessed shot hit the post.
Had Southampton fans been offered a draw against Manchester United before the game, anyone would’ve taken it. However, given the course of the game, Southampton should’ve left St Mary’s with all three points. Under pressure manager Claude Puel made a rather unpopular decision, as the fans voiced their displeasure after seeing Ward-Prowse being substituted.
Southampton head into the final game of the season against Stoke City at St Mary’s being guaranteed a top half finish for the fourth consecutive season but without a goal at home for over six hours.