Southampton's hopes of ending a 14-year wait for a major final received a huge boost, as they beat Liverpool 1-0 in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.
Nathan Redmond's first-half goal was enough to earn Claude Puel's side a precious lead at the halfway stage of the tie, ahead of the deciding match at Anfield.
Saints were full value for the win, and they perhaps could even feel they should be heading to Merseyside with a greater advantage, having had by far the better of the opportunities, with Redmond also clipping the underside of the bar in the second half.
Still, as valuable as the win is perhaps the clean sheet that it came with, which owed plenty to the immense performance of Oriol Romeu in midfield and the tenacity of Jordy Clasie, as well as the back line.
In a tie where the away goals rule would come into effect if extra time is required in the second leg, the importance of that aspect of the result should not be underestimated.
EVERY SINGLE PLAYER WORKED HARD FOR IT AND TO COME AWAY WITH THE WIN IS A MASSIVE STEP GOING FORWARD.NATHAN REDMOND
WE HAD A CLEAN SHEET AGAINST ONE OF THE BEST OFFENSIVE TEAMS IN THE COUNTRY SO IT'S VERY GOOD. IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT WHAT WE'VE DONE TODAY, NOW WE NEED TO KEEP GOING.ORIOL ROMEU
AT THE END OF THE GAME WE HAD A CONVERSATION AND WE'RE ONE GOAL UP, BUT WE KNOW IT WILL BE DIFFICULT FOR THE SECOND MATCH. IT WAS IMPORTANT TO WIN WITH A CLEAN SHEET AND WE WILL NOW SEE FOR THE RETURN LEG.CLAUDE PUEL