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Southampton vs. Manchester United: Score, Reaction for 2015 Premier League Match

Published by Bleacher Report on Sun, 20 Sep 2015

Manchester United closed the gap at the top of the Premier League table to just two points as they beat Southampton 3-2 at St Mary's on Sunday.Graziano Pelle opened the scoring for the hosts, but Anthony Martial's strike ensured the teams went in level at half-time, and the Frenchman grabbed his brace minutes after the restart. Juan Mata thought he'd killed the game when he added a third, but a late second from Pelle ensured a nervy finish.Once again it wasn't a convincing performance from United for much of the proceedings, but they bagged three goals and three points for the second consecutive match.Wayne Rooney started for United in place of Ashley Young while Marcos Rojo came in at left-back for the injured Luke Shaw, and Sadio Mane returned to action for the Saints.The Red Devils were slow out of the traps, and Southampton capitalised with an early goal.Mane's give-and-go with James Ward-Prowse freed the Englishman on the right, and he found his team-mate with a pinpoint delivery into the box. David De Gea's magnificent save kept out Mane on the half-volley, but Pelle was on hand to slot home the rebound.As football writer Liam Canning noted, the situation was all too familiar for United this season:Pelle almost doubled his tally immediately after but crashed his strike onto a post.United created little in response but scored from their first positive period of play. Mata fed Martial inside the penalty area, and the 19-year-old coolly turned past Virgil van Dijk and finished with aplomb.The youngster was alive in the second half too and quickly put his side ahead, latching onto Maya Yoshida's disastrous backpass and once again proving composed at the crucial moment.Squawka illustrated Martial's incredible impact at the club in such a short period of time:Like United in the first half, the hosts struggled to respond and rarely tested their opponents, but they did force a phenomenal save from De Gea after Jose Fonte flicked on a corner at the near post.Faced with little pressure from Southampton otherwise, the Red Devils went two ahead as Mata turned in Memphis Depay's rebound from the post.As the game appeared to wind down, the Saints pulled one back virtually out of nowhere, with Pelle heading home Mane's cross. The rejuvenated hosts tested De Gea once more as they piled on some late pressure, but Louis van Gaal's side held on thanks to more smart work from the Spaniard.United still have a long way to go under the Dutchman, but they host Sunderland in their next Premier League outing. Expect plenty more goals as they come up against the Black Cats' hapless defending.Southampton are still finding their feet after losing the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne in the summer. The Saints will be desperate to beat Swansea City in Week 7 and could really use the points too as they then face a trip to Stamford Bridge.
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