Gab's double fires Saints to victory

By Gordon Simpson Sat 11 Feb Sunderland vs Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Manolo Gabbiadini
Sat 11 Feb 3.00PM
Premier League
Sunderland
0
Southampton
4
Gabbiadini [30' 45'] Denayer (og) [88'] Long [90+2']
Khazri (90+4')
Referee: Paul Tierney | Venue: Stadium of Light | Attendance: 39,931

Manolo Gabbiadini's double helped fire Southampton back to winning ways in the Premier League, as they thrashed Sunderland 4-0 to go bounding into the EFL Cup final on a high.

The Italian followed up his debut goal against West Ham last week by striking twice in the first half at the Stadium of Light to lead Saints past the Black Cats, with Jason Denayer's late own goal and Shane Long's cool finish in added time adding extra emphasis to the scoreline.

Claude Puel's side, who had lost six of their previous seven Premier League matches, were excellent value their comfortable win, dominating proceedings in the north east throughout the afternoon.

It marked an ideal result for Saints not just in terms of getting back on track in the top-flight, but also ahead of the showdown with Manchester United, at Wembley Stadium, two weeks tomorrow.
 
Puel made two changes from the side that lost 3-1 at home to West Ham last time out, as Nathan Redmond and Dušan Tadić returned in place of Jay Rodriguez, who dropped to the bench, and the injured Sofiane Boufal.

Sunderland had the better of the opening stages, without ever seriously threatening.

A misplaced defensive header from Ryan Bertrand provided an opening for Adnan Januzaj on the edge of the box after six minutes, but the Saints defender recovered excellently to block the resulting shot.

Another chance arrived for the Black Cats soon after, as Nathan Redmond fouled Didier Ndong 25 yards out, but Seb Larsson’s free-kick was fired straight into the wall.

Even when Sunderland picked out top scorer Jermain Defoe, via Adnan Januzaj down the inside left, he could only divert the ball wide of the near post.

Saints eventually began to grow into the game, and some good pressing high up the pitch from James Ward-Prowse in the 19th minute saw the ball fall to Gabbiadini in space, just inside the area, but his left-footed snapshot was dragged well wide.

Gabbiadini again provided a threat soon after, as he latched onto a Tadić through ball, turned and picked out Cédric 18 yards out, but he fired his shot well over.

Manolo Gabbiadini puts Saints in front

The breakthrough did arrive on the half-hour mark, though, and it was little surprise that it did so through Gabbiadini, who made it two goals in two games for his new club.

It owed plenty to Bertrand, though, as his wicked cross from the left just eluded the diving Lamine Koné, before hitting Gabbiadini and flying past Mannone at the near post.

If that wasn’t already good enough, Gabbiadini then struck again just as the clock ticked onto 45 minutes.

A beautiful piece of play down the right ended with Tadić sliding a pass into the striker, and he completely dumbfounded Koné with a superb turn, before firing a low, right-footed shot past Mannone to send Saints into the interval leading 2-0.

Gabbiadini slots home to make it 2-0

Within three minutes of the restart, the Italian had almost completed his hat-trick, but his left-footed strike from James Ward-Prowse’s in-swinging corner was saved by Mannone.

Saints continued to poke and prod, with Tadić having a low shot well blocked by Koné, before his well-struck shot was turned away by the diving Mannone shortly after the hour mark.

At the other end, Forster was finally tested, as Didier Ndong sent in a low shot from 25 yards in the 66th minute, but the Saints keeper got behind it well and held on.

Back up the pitch Saints went, and they were a whisker away from making it 3-0 when Ward-Prowse teed up a shot from 25 yards and sent it whistling just past the top corner, with Mannone beaten, while the midfielder headed inches wide just moments later.

There would be no hat-trick for Gabbiadini, as he was withdrawn to a standing ovation from the away fans, being replaced by Long in the 73rd minute.

He came close to an immediate impact, meeting Cédric's right-wing cross and looping a header towards goal, only for Mannone to reach up and tip it over the bar.

The Black Cats keeper kept the score down again ten minutes from time, as he saved from Redmond, before Saints made their second change of the day, swapping the superb Tadić for Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.

With three minutes left, the visitors added some additional emphasis to the scoreline, as Redmond set Bertrand away down the left and his low ball was diverted in by Sunderland's Denayer for an own goal to make it 3-0.

And it was 4-0 in added time, as Bertrand picked out Long through the middle, and he exchanged passes with Ward-Prowse, before slotting calmly past Mannone into the bottom corner.

Sunderland

Head to Head Stats

Southampton
  • Possession (%)
    46
    54
  • Shots
    6
    15
  • Shots on target
    1
    8
  • Corners
    6
    2
  • Passes Complete
    348
    437

Sunderland

1
Vito Mannone (GK)
16
John O'Shea (C)
Steven Pienaar (45′)
4
Jason Denayer
23
Lamine Koné
17
Didier Ndong
2
Billy Jones
7
Sebastian Larsson
Fabio Borini (58′)
24
Darron Gibson
Wahbi Khazri (81′)
3
Bryan Oviedo
44
Adnan Januzaj
18
Jermain Defoe
20
Steven Pienaar
15
Joleon Lescott
10
Wahbi Khazri
9
Fabio Borini
12
Mika
21
Javier Manquillo
39
George Honeyman

Southampton

1
Fraser Forster (GK)
21
Ryan Bertrand
2
Cédric Soares
3
Maya Yoshida
24
Jack Stephens
8
Steven Davis (C)
11
Dusan Tadic
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (82′)
14
Oriol Romeu
22
Nathan Redmond
16
James Ward-Prowse
20
Manolo Gabbiadini
Shane Long (73′)
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
38
Sam McQueen
7
Shane Long
39
Josh Sims
9
Jay Rodriguez
5
Florin Gardos
40
Mouez Hassen
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