Southampton and Newcastle played out a closely contested 2-2 draw at St Mary’s on Sunday, with Manuel Gabbiadini scoring a deserved brace for the hosts.
With one win in nine matches for Southampton, Pellegrino’s men were keen to get a much-needed win on the boards, and as Rafa Benitez’ prodigy at Liverpool back in 2008, Pellegrino would’ve been unquestionably keen to get one over the Toon army and kick-start their goal scoring account at home.
Newcastle took the lead in the 20th minute with a deflected cross from Ritchie who found Atsu in the middle. His half volleyed shot was blocked by Yoshida which then fell deliciously for Hayden who half-volleyed the ball into the back of the net from 20 yards out, wrong-footing Fraser Forster in the process.
Newcastle were deservedly 1-0 up, and the game consequently livened up, with Mario Lemina and Gabbiadini getting half chances but with no end product. It seemed as though the goal had given Saints a new lease of life and they kicked into action with faster flowing football and chances, but to no avail.
Despite 65% of possession, Southampton were yet to make a breakthrough and were trailing to Newcastle 1-0 at half time. It only took 60 seconds into the first half for Newcastle to have a chance to double their lead, with Joseful striking the post from a looping cross.
Southampton reacted immediately, with Nathan Redmond providing an excellent cross-field pass to Gabbiadini who controlled well and danced around the penalty area, drilling low into the bottom right hand corner in the 49th minute. 1-1.
Newcastle then completely ruled out Gabbiadini’s goal within 86 seconds. Ritchie played in Ayoze Perez whose first time shot was saved by Forster straight back into his path and Perez buried the chance from an acute angle. 2-1.
Lascelles could have been sent off in the 53rd minute by receiving a second yellow, but owing to some sympathetic refereeing he stayed on the pitch. Shane Long then came bursting down the line and Lejeune brought him down in the box to win Southampton a penalty.
Gabbiadini smashed it into the top right hand corner in the 75th minute to give Southampton a much-needed lifeline in the game. 2-2.
After an exciting end to end last 15 minutes, Newcastle came close to scoring with a Lascelles header which was cleared off the line by the Northern Ireland skipper Steven Davis. Neither team were able to emerge as victors and the game finished 2-2.
While Southampton are still struggling to find their feet at home this season, Rafa Benitez’ men can be happy with a point away from home, which means Newcastle now sit ninth in the Premier League table with 11 points. Benitez’s counterpart Mauricio Pellegrino will likely be mixed in his reaction, as Southampton move up to tenth in the table despite only scoring seven Premier League goals in the 2017/18 campaign.
Written by Niall Henry.