Tadić inspires Saints to vital win

By SFC Media time Sat 28 Apr Saints v Bournemouth
Photo by Matt Watson | Dušan Tadić
Sat 28 Apr 3PM
Premier League
Tadic [25' 54']
King [45+1']
Bednarek (47') Yoshida (89') McCarthy (90+1') Soares (90+2') Højbjerg (90+5')
yellow card
Cook (4')
Referee: Anthony Taylor | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 31,778

Southampton produced one of their most determined performances of the season on the biggest day of it yet, as they gave their Premier League survival hopes a major shot in the arm with a 2-1 win over Bournemouth.

Roared on by a raucous crowd of 31,778, and on the back of two sublime Dušan Tadić goals, Saints earned three points that could prove incredibly precious come the end of the campaign.

It was entirely deserved too, with Mark Hughes's men not only showing plenty of positivity in their play, but marrying that with a notable display of character and spirit.

While they remain in the bottom three, Saints can now head into a pair of huge back-to-back away games, against Everton and fellow battlers Swansea, with a spring in their step.

Hughes made two changes to the side that lost to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals last week, as Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Shane Long were replaced by Nathan Redmond and Tadić.

There was plenty of energy from both sides in the early stages, but, in truth, neither keeper ever had much to worry about in the opening ten minutes, with Lewis Cook’s yellow card for a third-minute foul on Tadić the most notable moment in that period.

When the first real threat arrived it was Saints that produced it, with Tadić showing sensational feet in the area to elude a pair of Bournemouth defenders, before cutting the ball back to Redmond in space.

He ran onto it and struck a firm, low effort, but Steve Cook flung himself brilliantly in front of it, before Oriol Romeu’s shot from the rebound was just as impressively blocked by Simon Francis.

There was no stopping Saints in the 25th minute, though.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 28: Dusan Tadic scores for Southampton FC during the Premier League match between Southampton and AFC Bournemouth at St Mary's Stadium on April 28, 2018 in Southampton, England. (Photo by James Bridle - Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Dušan Tadić celebrates after opening the scoring.

Maya Yoshida headed clear a ball into the area, with Redmond then setting up a lightning counter with a brilliant flick over his man and pass to Mario Lemina.

Lemina raced forward in a two-on-one with Tadić, timing the pass to his teammate to perfection.

Tadić then did the rest, gliding into the area, setting himself on his left foot and sliding the ball coolly into the far bottom corner to send St Mary’s wild.

It could have been 2-0 on the half-hour mark, as Charlie Austin got away down the inside-right channel and tried to catch Asmir Begović off-guard with a slicing shot towards the near post, but the Bournemouth keeper reacted well to palm it behind.

If that was a good save, it was nothing compared to what he produced two minutes later, as Lemina met a bouncing ball 25 yards out with a sensational strike that was swerving into the corner, only for Begović to spring to his left and tip it wide at full stretch.

Five minutes before the break, Saints again went close through a strike from distance. This time, it was from Redmond, whose bouncing left-foot effort spun off Austin on the way through.

Unfortunately, it was too heavy a deflection, and, although Austin appealed for a penalty as he went down under Begović’s challenge having stretched out to prod the loose ball, referee Anthony Taylor had no interest in the claim.

As much control and pressure as Saints were having, much of their good work was so nearly undone two minutes before the interval, as Lys Mousset’s low shot hit Nathan Aké in the area, with the Cherries defender swivelling into space a few yards out, only for Alex McCarthy to make a brilliant save with his left foot.

Sadly, there was nothing the Saints keeper could do as the clock hit 45 minutes.

An out-swinging corner flicked off a Cherries player and spun to the back post, where Josh King reacted quickest to side-foot into the roof of the net from close range.

It was certainly no reflection of the game, but the reality was that, at half-time, the sides went in level.

After Jan Bednarek was booked for a foul, another penalty shout was made shortly into the second half, as Redmond claimed his cross hit the arm of Steve Cook, but, at close range, referee Taylor was again unmoved.

At the other end, McCarthy was again called into action, diving to his left to turn away a Dan Gosling strike, as the action swung back and forth.

Fortunately, when the next big moment arrived, it was Saints who made it count.

20180428 Southampton v Bournemouth
Tadić celebrates his second of the game.

Tadić showed great alertness to pounce on a loose ball in midfield in the 54th minute, before driving on towards the edge of the Cherries area.

With Austin occupying defenders to his right and Redmond to his left, Tadić spotted space towards the far corner and sent a glorious, delicate, slicing shot with the outside of his left foot past Begović and just inside the post – a huge roar ringing round St Mary’s as the ball rippled the net.

In the ascendancy again, Hughes then made his first change of the afternoon, sending on Shane Long for Redmond.

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe soon followed suit, sending on Jermain Defoe and Jordon Ibe for Callum Wilson and Mousset.

It was still Saints on top, though, and they went agonisingly close to doubling their lead on 68 minutes, as Long redirected a low Austin shot across goal, only for Begović to somehow get a leg to it and turn it to safety.

The Cherries stopper again denied Saints moments later, as the irrepressible Tadić picked out the run in behind of none other than Ryan Bertrand from left-back, but Begović was equal to his effort.

Shortly after, Tadić again came close to registering an assist, with his back-heel giving Austin a sight of goal, but, from a tight angle, he could only hit the side-netting.

It was Austin’s last action of the game, as he was replaced by Højbjerg, while Bournemouth also sent ex-Saint Andrew Surman on for Gosling.

As the game wore on and reached the last ten minutes, there was an understandably nervous tension around St Mary's, and there was a sharp intake of breath as Surman curled a shot wide of the far post from distance in the 85th minute.

Seeking to keep control of matters, Hughes then made his final change, bringing off Tadić to a richly-deserved standing ovation and sending on James Ward-Prowse.

There were still scares to survive – McCarthy saving superbly with his feet from Ryan Fraser's angled shot across goal, and tipping a deflected effort wide deep into added time – but there was to be no denying the hosts on this occasion, and the roar that greeted the full-time whistle told its own story.

Three to go now. Game on!

Match sponsor: Solent University

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Alex McCarthy (GK) yellow card
Wesley Hoedt
Jan Bednarek yellow card
Maya Yoshida yellow card
Ryan Bertrand (C)
Cédric Soares yellow card
Oriol Romeu
Mario Lemina
Dusan Tadic goal goal
replace James Ward-Prowse (87′)
Charlie Austin
replace Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (72′) yellow card
Nathan Redmond
replace Shane Long (59′)
Shane Long
Fraser Forster
Manolo Gabbiadini
Jack Stephens
James Ward-Prowse
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
Josh Sims


Asmir Begovic (GK)
Nathan Aké
Steve Cook
Simon Francis (C)
Dan Gosling
replace Andrew Surman (72′)
Charlie Daniels
Lewis Cook yellow card
Ryan Fraser
Lys Mousset
replace Jordon Ibe (64′)
Callum Wilson
replace Jermain Defoe (64′)
Joshua King goal
Brad Smith
Jordon Ibe
Jermain Defoe
Andrew Surman
Artur Boruc
Tyrone Mings
Marc Pugh
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