REPORT: Newcastle United 2-2 Southampton

By SFC Media time Sun 09 Aug Men's First team

Headed goals from Graziano Pellè and substitute Shane Long secured Saints a point from the side’s opening-day trip to Newcastle United.

Pellè followed up his strikes in each of the side’s Europa League wins over Vitesse by powering the visitors into a 24th-minute lead.

But the Magpies seized the advantage with goals three minutes either side of the break as Papiss Cissé tapped in from close range after a cross had looped awkwardly over Maarten Stekelenburg, before Georginio Wijnaldum nodded home at the end of a rapid counter-attack.

With the game looking like it was getting away from Southampton, substitute Shane Long leaped high to nod home a leveller with 11 minutes remaining.

Assistant manager Erwin Koeman took charge of Saints for the game with brother Ronald missing the trip after undergoing an ankle operation two days ago.

In terms of changes from Thursday’s UEFA Europa League win over Vitesse, Jay Rodriguez came in for his first league appearance since suffering a knee injury in April 2014 while full-backs Cédric Soares and Matt Targett were recalled after being rested in Arnhem.

There was an early heart-in-mouth moment for Saints as debutant Wijnaldum’s in-swinging free-kick caused confusion in the box and led to Steven Davis heading towards his own goal, but Stekelenburg claimed the ball.

It was Davis himself who came to the rescue soon afterwards when he did superbly to block Wijnaldum’s shot after Moussa Sissoko had got free down the right and cut the back ball to the edge of the box.

Wijnaldum, a summer signing from PSV Eindhoven, was looking like the early dangerman, with Cédric – himself a Premier League debutant – being shown a 12th-minute yellow card for bringing him down as the Dutchman weaved his way through the Saints half.

It was Cédric who had Saints’ first chance of the game, latching onto Dušan Tadić’s flick before seeing his effort parried by Magpies goalkeeper Tim Krul.

Krul’s opposite number and fellow Dutchman, Stekelenburg, then had to be alert to hold a Cissé effort barely a minute later in a breathless opening 20 minutes, before Tadić watched a left-footed piledriver tipped wide by the Newcastle goalkeeper.

The breakthrough arrived on 24 minutes as Sadio Mané burst through the half before playing the ball wide to Cédric, whose hanging cross was headed towards goal by Pellè with Krul unable to prevent his effort squirming in.

The hosts carved out an opportunity to level on the half-hour as Sissoko drove down the right and squared for Cissé, but the Senegalese failed to control the ball in the box.

They might well have won a penalty moments later when Rodriguez appeared to handle as Saints defended a corner, but referee Craig Pawson was unconvinced.

A good ball from Pellè then set Tadić clear down the right, but his cross was nodded wide of the target by Rodriguez, before Davis rescued Saints once again by clearing Fabricio Coloccini’s effort off the goal line.

But there was to be no preventing what was a freak equaliser for the hosts, as Massadio Haidara’s cross looped off Mané and over Stekelenburg for Cissé to prod home at the back post three minutes before the break.

There was still a chance for Saints to restore the lead before the half was out, but Tadić volleyed over after good persistence by Cédric down the right flank.

Despite his lively first half, Cédric’s early booking was enough to lead Koeman to substitute him at the break, bringing on Cuco Martina in his place.

And Saints almost roared back into the lead moments after the restart as Maya Yoshida nodded Davis’s cross towards goal only for Krul to pull off an outstanding save with his legs.

Newcastle broke from the resulting corner, with Cissé setting Gabriel Obertan clear of Matt Targett and the Frenchman’s cross was duly headed home by the onrushing Wijnaldum with Saints well and truly caught out.

Obertan then fizzed a shot wide after cutting in from the left as Saints struggled to reassert themselves after falling behind.

With 66 minutes on the clock, Koeman threw on Shane Long for the tiring Rodriguez as the visitors looked to battle their way back int the game.

And the substitution duly paid off with 11 minutes remaining as Long rose to meet Tadić’s in-swinging cross, with the header flying into the top corner.

With the attacking impetus transferred, Saints went in search of a late winner as the game entered injury time, and Mané could well have snatched it when he cut in from the left – but his effort was desperately blocked by Coloccini.

And the Senegalese had an even better opportunity moments later after surging down the other flank, but this time slotted wide with the Newcastle defence looking beaten as Saints settled for an opening-day draw.

Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Daryl Janmaat, Chancel Mbemba, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Massadio Haidara, Vurnon Anita (Cheick Tiote 68), Jack Colback, Moussa Sissoko, Georginio Wijnaldum (Siem De Jong 81), Gabriel Obertan, Papiss Cissé (Aleksandar Mitrovic 75). Unused substitutes: Karl Darlow (GK), Ronaldo Aarons, Ayoze Perez, Steven Taylor.

Goals: Cissé (42), Wijnaldum (48)

Bookings: Colback (55), Mitrovic (75)

Southampton: Maarten Stekelenburg, Cédric Soares (Cuco Martina 46), José Fonte (c), Maya Yoshida, Matt Targett, Victor Wanyama, Steven Davis, Dušan Tadić, Sadio Mané, Jay Rodriguez (Shane Long 66), Graziano Pellè. Unused substitutes: Paulo Gazzaniga (GK), James Ward-Prowse, Harrison Reed, Juanmi, Steven Caulker.

Goals: Pellè (24), Long (79)

Bookings: Cédric (12), Fonte (60), S. Davis (87), Pellè (90+3)

Attendance: 49,710 (1,250 away fans)

Referee: Craig Pawson

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