Report: Saints 1-0 Middlesbrough

By SFC Media Sun 11 Dec Saints vs Boro
Sun 11 Dec 2.15PM
Premier League
Southampton
1
Middlesbrough
0
Boufal [53']
Tadic (22') Boufal (45+1') Fonte (55') Romeu (58')
Barragán (17') Forshaw (52') Clayton (80')
Referee: Stuart Attwell | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 28,976

Southampton returned to winning ways with a 1-0 success over Middlesbrough at St Mary’s on Sunday afternoon.

Sofiane Boufal’s solitary stunner, his first in the league, proved to be the decisive blow as Claude Puel’s men moved back into the top half.

After a first-half with little to choose between the two sides, Saints were rewarded after the interval for ramping up the tempo when Boufal picked up James Ward-Prowse’s pass before unleashing a ferocious drive beyond Víctor Valdés.

Puel made eight changes from Thursday’s UEFA Europa League clash, with Dušan Tadić making his first start since the game against Hull City in November following a broken nose sustained on international duty.

Elsewhere, Boufal, captain José Fonte, Jordy Clasie, Jay Rodriguez, Sam McQueen, Cuco Martina and Ward-Prowse all came in.

It was the visitors who carved out the first opportunity of the game when Martin De Roon released Viktor Fischer down the left, and the former Ajax winger bullied his way into the box to find Jordan Rhodes, who was thwarted by Fraser Forster at point-blank range.

Saints responded when Clasie played a neat one-two with Rodriguez on the edge of the box, before seeing his right-footed drive flash just wide of Valdés’ post.

Soon after, McQueen’s cross was pulled back to Clasie, but he couldn’t steer his first time effort with his left foot on target.

A promising start continued when Clasie and Rodriguez combined once more on the 20 minute mark. This time the former of the two turned provider as his pass was flicked instinctively towards goal by the forward, with Valdés equal to it.

But there was a let off for Saints just after the half hour mark, when Fischer profited from a loose Ward-Prowse pass, rounding Forster before seeing his effort stopped on the line by Fonte.

Fonte gets back to block Fischer's shot

At the interval, Tadić was replaced by Nathan Redmond in the first change as Saints looked to break the deadlock.

The impact was almost immediate when Martina’s deep cross was cushioned back to Boufal by the winger, who saw his side-footed strike blocked well by former Saint Calum Chambers.

On 52 though, it was to be another special strike from Boufal that gave the hosts a deserved advantage.

The Moroccan international collected a pass from Ward-Prowse before sending a ferocious left-footed drive beyond Valdés around 20 yards from goal.

Forster was rarely troubled and Saints came close to doubling the advantage when substitute Steven Davis met Martina’s cross, but couldn’t quite steer his header to trouble Valdés.

With ten minutes remaining, Ward-Prowse’s dangerous corner was met by Rodriguez, who went agonisingly close with the header as Adam Clayton turned it off the line.

In stoppage time, Redmond's persistence almost paid dividends when he hunted down Antonio Barragán to win possession back and curled a right-footed effort into the far corner, which Rodriguez was inches away from meeting.

Southampton

Head to Head Stats

Middlesbrough
  • Possession (%)
    55
    45
  • Shots
    14
    6
  • Shots on target
    3
    2
  • Corners
    4
    2
  • Passes Complete
    396
    314

Southampton

1
Fraser Forster (GK)
38
Sam McQueen
6
José Fonte (C)
15
Cuco Martina
17
Virgil van Dijk
14
Oriol Romeu
4
Jordy Clasie
Shane Long (85′)
16
James Ward-Prowse
9
Jay Rodriguez
11
Dusan Tadic
Nathan Redmond (45′)
19
Sofiane Boufal
Steven Davis (73′)
28
Stuart Taylor
18
Harrison Reed
8
Steven Davis
7
Shane Long
21
Ryan Bertrand
3
Maya Yoshida
22
Nathan Redmond

Middlesbrough

26
Víctor Valdés (GK)
17
Antonio Barragán
2
Fabio
6
Ben Gibson (C)
25
Calum Chambers
8
Adam Clayton
34
Adam Forshaw
14
Marten de Roon
11
Viktor Fischer
9
Jordan Rhodes
18
Cristhian Stuani
Adama Traoré (81′)
7
Grant Leadbitter
19
Stewart Downing
37
Adama Traoré
35
David Nugent
12
Brad Guzan
24
Nsue
5
Bernardo
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