Leeds – Southampton was a very lopsided win for the hosts, as Saints started well but faded badly in the second half.
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After VAR drama denied Southampton a penalty kick in the first half, Patrick Bamford, Stuart Dallas and the brilliant Raphinha all scored as Marcelo Bielsa’s side surged into the top 10.
Southampton have now lost seven of their last eight games and are on 30 points, while Leeds have 35.
Three things we learned
1. VAR takes center stage: Nathan Tella thought he won a penalty kick but Andre Marriner overturned his decision after being told to look at the pitch-side monitor. It was the correct call. Tella dragged his leg into Llorente as he went down and it was not a penalty kick. However, VAR wasn’t used as Saints thought they had taken the lead with a quick free kick. James Ward-Prowse found Che Adams who slotted home, but Marriner said his whistle hadn’t blown. It was a big decision and it knocked the stuffing out of Southampton.
2. Raphinha leads the way: The Brazilian winger was unstoppable. He tore Bednarek, who was playing out of position at right back, to pieces. Leeds have made plenty of good moves in the transfer market but Raphinha may be the best. His direct style of place, selfless runs and his quality on the ball makes him a nightmare to defend. What a player.
3. Southampton in a relegation battle: A few weeks ago this would have been unthinkable but the Saints are in a battle to stay up. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side are in freefall, winning just one of their last 13 games and they are on a huge downwards spiral. In late October they were top of the Premier League. When they beat Liverpool on Jan. 4 they were sixth. Since that win they have lost seven of their last eight and are now just eight points above the relegation zone. With the FA Cup quarterfinal against Bournemouth around to distract them, they badly need to find form in the next few weeks as they face Everton, Manchester City, Sheffield United and Brighton before that. They need to get to 40 points as soon as they can and they need to stop crumbling when a VAR decision or something similar goes against them.
Man of the Match: Raphinha – Plenty of superb runs forward, very creative and scored a superb free kick late on.
Southampton started brightly and went close through Jannik Vestergaard and Nathan Tella.
Tella then won a penalty kick, or so he thought, but VAR instructed referee Andre Marirner to look at his pitch-side monitor and he decided to overturn his original decision as he felt there was no contact on the Saints winger.
Oriol Romeu then made a superb tackle to deny Raphinha who was clean through on goal, as the game turned into a pulsating end-to-end clash.
Before half time Southampton thought they had taken the lead but James Ward-Prowse’s quick free kick found Che Adams who slotted home, yet Marriner said his whistle wasn’t blown in time and ruled out the goal.
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At the start of the second half, Leeds took the lead. Bamford was played in by Tyler Roberts and finished after expertly peeling off the Southampton defense.
Illan Meslier then denied Stuart Armstrong superbly as Saints responded well to going behind, initially, but Leeds then had multiple chances to extend their lead.
Raphinha did superbly as Roberts fired wide and Bamford was denied by McCarthy, then Diego Llorente was denied brilliantly by McCarthy.
Vestergaard went close with a header at the other end but Leeds wrapped up the win as Dallas smashed home from outside the box and then Raphinha lashed home a superb free kick to cap his fine display.