REPORT: Manchester United 2-0 Southampton
Southampton were unable to make it three straight away league wins against Manchester United, as they lost 2-0 at Old Trafford.
After a 17-year wait for a league win at Old Trafford, Saints were heading into the game on the back of successive 1-0 wins at the home of the Red Devils.
But Claude Puel’s men were unable to make it a hat-trick, as Zlatan Ibrahimović scored either side of half time, with one coming from the penalty spot, to condemn Saints to defeat.
Dušan Tadić, the hero in January 2015, started for Puel’s side, while Charlie Austin – last season’s match-winner, was again among the substitutes.
There was a first start of the season for captain José Fonte, as he replaced Maya Yoshida at the heart of the defence, while Pierre-Emile Højbjerg made his first start for the club in place of James Ward-Prowse.
All the pre-match talk centered around Paul Pogba, and it was the Frenchman who had the game’s first effort on target. Saints goalkeeper Fraser Forster was equal to the strike at his near post, however.
Saints were more than matching José Mourinho’s side in the opening exchanges, and after Nathan Redmond’s cross had just eluded an unmarked Tadić, Shane Long fired narrowly wide on the turn.
After Long had been unable to make the most of another good opportunity, the hosts took the lead. Ibrahimović rose above Fonte to meet a Wayne Rooney cross and powerfully head the ball beyond Forster.
Saints looked to rally after falling behind, with Long almost getting on the end of Targett’s cross and Tadić having a goal ruled out for offside, but seven minutes after half time it was 2-0.
Former Saint Luke Shaw was fouled by substitute Jordy Clasie in the penalty area, and Ibrahimović stepped up to double his tally for the evening, sending Forster the wrong way.
Virgil van Dijk made two excellent blocks to deny the hosts a third, as he first prevented Anthony Martial from shooting towards goal, and then diverted away a dangerous Shaw cross.
But there was to be no late fightback from Puel’s men, as the Frenchman suffered his first defeat as manager of Southampton.
Manchester United: David de Gea, Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata (Henrik Mkhitaryan 76), Wayne Rooney (c) (Chris Smalling 89), Anthony Martial (Ander Herrera 82), Zlatan Ibrahimović.
Unused substitutes: Sergio Romero (GK), Marcus Rashford, Morgan Schneiderlin, Ashley Young.
Goals: Zlatan Ibrahimović (36 & pen 52)
Southampton: Fraser Forster, Cédric, José Fonte (c), Virgil van Dijk, Matt Targett, Oriol Romeu (Jordy Clasie 11), Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Steven Davis (Charlie Austin 67), Dušan Tadić, Shane Long (Jay Rodriguez 84), Nathan Redmond.
Unused substitutes: Alex McCarthy (GK), Maya Yoshida, James Ward-Prowse, Jérémy Pied.