Sofiane Boufal netted a brilliant goal on his first start in Southampton colours as Saints edged past Sunderland with a 1-0 win in the fourth round of the EFL Cup.
Moroccan Boufal who had made two appearances as a substitute in the past week, was out to make an impression on his home bow, and took to his role as entertainer with some neat footwork throughout the contest.
His shining moment came midway through the second half when he seamlessly plucked a high ball out of the air before going on to curl a superb arching finish into the top corner for a goal worthy of winning any game, let alone this one.
An otherwise largely forgettable contest saw Saints labour their way to victory, though Sunderland to their credit battled on until the end, on a night which was further soured for them when manager David Moyes was sent to the stands for an over-zealous reaction to an unanswered penalty claim.
IT'S A BEAUTIFUL GOAL AND I'M SO HAPPY TO SCORE MY FIRST GOAL AT ST MARY'S. I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT OF ALL THE FANS WHO CAME TODAY.SOFIANE BOUFAL
IT WAS A DREAM COME TRUE TO MAKE MY DEBUT IN FRONT OF ALL THOSE FANS AND I'M GRATEFUL TO THE MANAGER FOR THE OPPORTUNITY.OLUFELA OLOMOLA
the young players had a good spirit. sometimes it was difficult for them, because they didn't have experience and maturity, but with energy and quality, like the goal of boufal, it was ok.claude puel