Southampton 1-1 Sunderland: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
Southampton are quickly becoming masters of the late goal.
Last weekend a Ricky Lambert penalty in the final minute of normal time downed West Brom, while today an 88th-minute Jose Fonte header earned them a point against a plucky Sunderland at St. Mary's Stadium.
The Saints have spent big on the likes of Dejan Lovren, Victor Wanyama and Pablo Osvaldo this summer, but it was mainstay Fonte who made the difference.
Sunderland led after only three minutes when the 5"5' Emanuele Giaccherini headed in a Sebastian Larsson corner.
The Italian winger was one of Paolo Di Canio's big purchases this offseason, moving from Italian heavyweights Juventus.
A few minutes later Jay Rodriguez was celebrating an equaliser, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
Sunderland were arguably the better side in the first half by a fraction, another Larsson corner almost catching Saints keeper Artur Boruc out and dropping straight in.
Penalty appeals from Jozy Altidore, Fonte and Adam Lallana were also waved away during the first 45 minutes.
In the second half, a fantastic late tackle from Modibo Diakite foiled Lallana at one point.
Osvaldo became increasingly influential as Mauricio Pochettino's side continued to create chances.
It was he who was felled by John O'Shea, leading to a free kick that youngster James Ward-Prowse swung in to find Fonte lurking.
It was the Saints who pushed for a winner in stoppage time, but will ultimately be the more content team with a point.
Having lost last weekend, the result gives Sunderland their first point of the season.
Key Player Grades
James Ward-Prowse: A-
It was truly a performance to sit up and take notice of from Southampton's James Ward-Prowse.
The 18-year-old is yet another player off the Saints' epic production line, and he looked just as prodigious as teammate Luke Shaw, Saturday.
His deliveries from set pieces were especially phenomenal.
James Ward-Prowse: 2/5 corners, 7/14 crosses, 2 interceptions, 3/3 clearances, 85% Pass Accuracy and 1 assist! #mymanofthematch— Saints Analysis (@SaintsAnalysis) August 24, 2013
Emanuele Giaccherini: B+
For £6.6 million, Di Canio should expect to see production from the highly touted Emanuele Giaccherini.
On Saturday, he was an energetic attacking presence who also impressed with his pressing.
His goal was incredibly well-taken considering his diminutive size.
Congrats to Giaccherini on scoring his first goal for Sunderland in the Premier League! #ForzaItalia— Juventus SoCal (@JuveSouthernCal) August 24, 2013
Stephane Sessegnon: C-
A very lacklustre display from Stephane Sessegnon, who was not-too-recently considered the most vital element of the Black Cats' attack.
He laboured with every touch, looking completely disinterested.
Has there ever been a more anonymous performance in the Premier League?
Di Canio says he made a change at half time because Sessegnon didn't 'satisfy' him. He didn't satisfy me either.— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) August 24, 2013
Victor Wanyama: B
Defensive midfielder Victor Wanyama is already looking an astute purchase for Pochettino.
He was physically dominant against Sunderland, controlling the game with his hulking frame.
He is not yet as influential going forward, but that will surely come.
@DictatePlay physically. Wanyama is not the most able passer, especially in quick transitions. I'm surprised he's in that role— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) August 24, 2013
Paolo Di Canio
(On Southampton) In my opinion since last year they build a great future.
The club is run very well, the arrival of Pochettino has changed the way they play football.
They already had a great base, but in the last few months their signings gives us the idea of what they can be in the next few years.
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