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Southampton netted a late goal for the second week in a row to claim a 1-1 draw against Sunderland at St Mary's on Saturday.
Emanuele Giaccherini gave the visitors an early lead but Southampton dominated proceedings and had a Jay Rodriguez goal ruled out for offside and two penalty appeals turned down as they struggled to find a breakthrough. However, after Rickie Lambert had scored a 90th-minute winner against West Brom last Saturday, Jose Fonte popped up with a last-gasp header to equalise two minutes from time.
Mauricio Pochettino was able to name an unchanged starting line-up from the victory at The Hawthorns, while new signing Pablo Daniel Osvaldo began on the bench. Meanwhile, Craig Gardner returned to the Sunderland fold after completing a three-match suspension, but Wes Brown remained sidelined with a knee injury.
Paolo Di Canio's new-look side wasted a number of good chances during their narrow opening-day defeat to Fulham last weekend but looked keen to make amends as they took their first opportunity at St Mary's. Giaccherini headed home from a brilliant Sebastian Larsson corner inside three minutes to claim his first goal for the club.
Southampton thought they had grabbed an immediate equaliser when Jay Rodriguez picked up a through ball from Lambert and slotted past Keiren Westwood, but their celebrations were cut short as the forward was ruled offside.
There was a flurry of chances after the early drama and Lambert almost pulled Southampton level in the 18th minute as he met a cross from James Ward-Prowse with a powerful header, but Westwood got down well to turn the ball around the post.
Pochettino brought on Osvaldo for the second half in an attempt to find an equaliser and the Italy forward immediately gave Southampton more confidence in the final third as he set up Lallana, but the midfielder fired just wide. Osvaldo then clipped a brilliant ball into the six-yard box for Rodriguez in the 58th minute, but the striker headed straight at Westwood.
Southampton continued to threaten the Sunderland goal but Lambert could not find a way past Westwood - the goalkeeper palming away his powerful 20-yard shot before keeping out a header at the far post. Eventually the home side made their pressure tell with Fonte heading home from a deep Ward-Prowse free-kick in the 88th minute to ensure a share of the spoils.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino: "At the moment, I'm disappointed. I'm happy with our second-half performance, though. We created a host of chances and if you look at the second half we deserved to win the match. All the work we did after conceding the early goal was important and we fully deserved to get that goal and more."
"I'm not disappointed in the way we conceded the goal. I take full responsibility for that and it can never happen again. It was a lack of concentration and communication. The ball went into the box and the shortest player was unmarked and got his head on the ball. We will have to work a lot harder on our communication and that's where I step in."
Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio: "When I asked 45 days ago for another central midfield player with a physical presence, with good quality and ability, preferably British, there was a reason. I know this league better than some managers who have managed for 20 years in England. I know, this is why I continually asked for two more players with a physical presence.
"I had the same situation two years ago at Swindon, a different level. We brought 12, 13 players from abroad and straight away I said I wanted two, three British ones with a physical presence. At the end of the season we won the league. Obviously I can't promise we'll win the league here but it is obvious that we will have less problems."
"I feel 50-50. Obviously we defended for the whole game, like Fulham did against us last week. The defence have done an amazing job because playing Lambert, Rodriguez, Lallana and then Ramirez and Osvaldo – I tell you, this is one of the best sides up front in the league. Their frontline gives them a chance for them to finish in the top 10, play good football, a physical presence, energy and quality. My back four, central midfield and wingers, have done a very, very good job in defensive moments."
|29 Dec 2013||v Everton (A)|
|01 Feb 2014||v Fulham (A)|
|14 Dec 2013||v Newcastle (A)|
|18 Jan 2014||v Sunderland (A)|
|26 Dec 2013||v Cardiff (A)|
|01 Mar 2014||v Liverpool (H)|