Southampton 1-0 West Brom: Sofiane Boufal wondergoal seals late win
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 21/10/17 8:00pm
Sofiane Boufal's superb individual late goal secured Southampton a 1-0 victory over West Brom at St Mary's on Saturday.
The game looked to be heading for a stalemate after Ryan Bertrand hit the post in the first half and former Saints forward Jay Rodriguez dragged a good opportunity wide later in the game.
But substitute Boufal snatched victory for Saints in the 85th minute when he ran 70 yards, breaking away from challenges and leaving several players in his wake, before finishing into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
The victory is only Southampton's second at home in the Premier League this season while West Brom have won just two of their last 18 league matches.
The Baggies showed little attacking ambition on a blustery evening and now face a tricky upcoming run with Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham to play in their next four games.
Southampton: Forster (5), Cedric (6), Yoshida (6), Van Dijk (7), Bertrand (7), Lemina (7), Romeu (6), Long (5), Davis (6), Tadic (6), Gabbiadini (6)
Subs: Austin (5), Boufal (8), Redmond (5).
Away Team: Foster (7), Dawson (6), Hegazi (7), Evans (5), Gibbs (5), Livermore (5), Krychowiak (5), Barry (5), Rodriguez (4), Rondon (5), Chadli (5)
Subs: Nyom (6), Phillips (5), McAuley (5)
Man of the match: Sofiane Boufal
Southampton largely played on the front foot and went close early on as Bertrand's free-kick deflected off the wall and hit the post.
Oriol Romeu dragged a close-range shot wide from a corner before Shane Long - who has now not scored in 20 games for Southampton - failed to finish from 10 yards out.
West Brom, who lost Jonny Evans to injury on the half-hour mark and saw Craig Dawson limp off later on, offered little going forward and were indebted to goalkeeper Ben Foster for tipping clear a header from Maya Yoshida.
Steven Davis replaced Nathan Redmond for Southampton while goalkeeper Ben Foster was passed fit to start for West Brom.
Saints continued to control the game after half-time as Manolo Gabbiadini headed over and Shane Long shot at Foster.
West Brom's best opening of the match fell to Rodriguez on the hour mark but he failed to even hit target after being played through on goal.
Dusan Tadic was denied by Foster at the other end but Saints were eventually rewarded for their persistence, although it took a moment of individual brilliance to break the deadlock.
Boufal picked up inside his own half, escaped the attentions of a few challenges and then burst clear before cutting inside on the edge of the West Brom box and finishing into the bottom corner. The substitute also set up Charlie Austin for a late chance but he hit the outside of the post.
- Of Premier League fixtures played at least 15 times, games between these two sides have averaged just 1.47 goals per game (22 goals in 15 games), fewer than any other clash.
- The Baggies have posted a league-low 37% possession figure in the Premier League this season.
- Southampton have kept a clean sheet in seven of their last nine Premier League meetings with West Brom.
- Sofiane Boufal's goal was his first in his last 23 Premier League appearances, since netting against Middlesbrough in December 2016.
- Five of the last nine Premier League meetings between these two sides have been goalless at half-time.
Man of the match - Sofiane Boufal
He only entered the pitch in the 81st minute, but Boufal provided the match-winning moment which will go down as a goal-of-the-season contender.
The substitute carried the ball 70 yards before keeping his composure and finishing into the bottom corner. It was a brilliant goal to decide a game that was otherwise short on quality in the final third.
Southampton are live on Sky Sports Premier League next Sunday when they make a trip along the coast to Brighton. Meanwhile, West Brom host Premier League leaders Manchester City on Saturday.