Southampton – Wolves: Pedro Neto’s brilliant second-half goal combined with some penalty controversy to give Wolves four of six points from Southampton this season in a 2-1 win at St. Mary’s.
Neto’s electric dance deep in the Saints box produced the winner after Ruben Neves converted a harsh penalty on Ryan Bertrand and Leander Dendoncker was denied the shame of a matching one at the other end.
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Wolves are now unbeaten in three to move above Saints’ 29 points by one. The 12th-place Wolves have won just four Premier League matches since the start of November, all by 2-1 scores against Chelsea, Arsenal twice, and now Saints.
Danny Ings scored a tremendous goal in the first half to give Saints the lead, but Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men have now lost six-straight in the Premier League and have one win in 11. Southampton has won three FA Cup matches during that stretch including defeats of Arsenal and Wolves.
Three things we learned from Southampton – Wolves
1. Perfect goal leads Saints but letter of the law harshly draws them back: : It’s difficult to say enough about Southampton’s opening goal. Stuart Armstrong takes the ball between two players, speeding up to make amends for the slight deflection from Nelson Semedo, plucking the ball from the left end line to a place where only Danny Ings can smash it home with a tremendous shin-high volley.
Semedo’s smashed effort on goal most certainly struck the trailing arm of a turning Ryan Bertrand, and the appendage definitely made his figure bigger, but what in the world is he supposed to do to avoid the ball from mere yards away? You can understand why VAR didn’t see a clear-and-obvious error and also why the penalty was given, but it’s a harsh one. That said, we’re unsure how it’s a penalty and Leander Dendoncker’s inadvertent handling moments later at the other end is not. The Wolves man stooped to head a cross but couldn’t judge it properly due to movement in front of him.
Wolves got back in the game with a penalty when Nelson Semedo’s smashed cross struck the outstretched arm of a turning Ryan Bertrand. Neves converted his fifth PL penalty in five tries to make it 1-1.
Neto then did his magic, turning his body back toward the 18 only to cut back toward goal. He left Jannik Vestergaard in the dust and placed his shot well to defy Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
The 20-year-old Neto now has five goals and three goals on the season and is beginning to resemble the hoped-for replacement for Diogo Jota.