English Premier League

Southampton 2 – 2 Leeds United

Southampton came from two goals down to salvage a point against Leeds and end a run of five consecutive Premier League defeats.

Kyle Walker-Peters fired the 81st-minute equaliser from an acute angle after summer signing Joe Aribo came off the bench to open his account for the club.

Rodrigo had handed Leeds the advantage with two goals in 15 second-half minutes as the visitors looked on course to maintain their winning start to the season.

Spain forward met Jack Harrison’s testing cross with a glancing finish to open the scoring, before heading in Pascal Struijk’s goal-bound effort for his second.

Saints debutant Sekou Mara played an influential role off the bench with the precise through-ball for Walker-Peters’ equaliser, and he nearly won it late on, but his fierce strike was well saved by Illan Meslier.

Leeds remain unbeaten after their opening two games and move up to fourth in the table, while Saints are off the foot of the table and climb into 15th place.

After a lacklustre first half, which produced just two shots on target for the visitors in the hot weather that has seen a drought declared across large parts of England, including Southampton, the game burst into life after the interval.

Leeds began the second half in the ascendancy as Rodrigo, who was wearing the armband after Patrick Bamford’s earlier withdrawal, nudged the visitors in front.

His second followed rather fortuitously shortly after, as he found himself unopposed on the Southampton goalline to apply the finishing touch to Struijk’s looping header, with the hosts looking on course for a record-equalling sixth league defeat in a row.

Saints appeared to lack a cutting edge as the stands began to empty at a sun-drenched St Mary’s, the game played against a backdrop of uncertainty after some reports in the media this week suggested manager Ralph Hasenhuttl had lost members of his dressing room and was under pressure to save his job.

The Austrian introduced Adam Armstrong, Aribo and Mara off the bench, with the latter replacing a disappointed Jan Bednarek, who was pictured with his head in his hands, but it proved to be an inspired move.

Armstrong and Aribo combined for the first Southampton goal as the former beat his man down the left before picking out his strike partner, who rolled the ball out of Meslier’s reach before smashing it through the retreating Leeds defenders on the line.

Then new signing Mara, 20, made a yard of space deep inside the Leeds half before threading the ball through to an on-rushing Walker-Peters, who ruthlessly found the equaliser, in off the far post.

Mara joined the club from Bordeaux earlier this summer, and his 20-minute cameo will offer the Southampton faithful cause for optimism and may just keep his manager in the job a bit longer.

source – BBC

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