Swansea City 2-3 Southampton

by 24britishtvJan. 8, 2022, 10 p.m. 18
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Last updated on .From the section FA Cup

Southampton lasted 90 minutes with 10 men to overcome Swansea City after extra time in a see-sawing third-round FA Cup tie played behind closed doors.

Swansea's Joel Piroe smashed in to force extra time, before Jan Bednarek's own goal gave the hosts a 2-1 lead.

But Mohamed Elyounoussi equalised seconds later and Shane Long struck on the break to give Southampton victory.
• None FA Cup fourth-round draw: When is it and which ball is my club?

This was the first game at an empty Swansea.com Stadium since May last year, a result of Covid-19 restrictions introduced in Wales on Boxing Day which mean that elite sport in the country is being played closed behind doors.

The lack of atmosphere was a dispiriting reminder of how soulless football is without fans, and their absence was keenly felt by two sides who had been deprived of the usual match-day buzz by a raft of recent coronavirus-related postponements.

Whereas Southampton had not played since a 1-1 Premier League draw with Tottenham on 28 December, one had to go back to 11 December for Swansea's most recent Championship fixture, a 4-1 beating by Nottingham Forest.

Southampton exploited their opponents' rustiness with an authoritative start, taking the lead in the eighth minute when Nathan Tella intercepted a Liam Walsh pass and fed Redmond, who stroked the ball into the bottom corner.

Tella then had a shot deflected narrowly over as Saints looked to add to their lead but their position of strength was weakened when Valery, booked for an earlier lunge on Ryan Manning, saw red when he brought down Michael Obafemi as the former Southampton forward bore down on the visitors' penalty area.

Having an additional player helped Swansea control possession but their lack of craft and penetration meant they were unable to trouble Saints for long periods.

In fact it was the visitors who first came closest to scoring in the second half. Captain James Ward-Prowse, who moved from midfield to right-back following Valery's dismissal, curled an inviting free-kick to the back post, where Jack Stephens headed wide.

Swansea equalised in the 77th minute, with Kyle Naughton's low cross only half-cleared into the path of top scorer Piroe, who blasted the ball into the roof of the net.

Piroe had a glorious chance to win the game in the final minute of normal time but, clean through on goal, his low shot was excellently saved by Fraser Forster to force an additional half an hour.

Swansea led for the first time early in the first half of extra time as Olivier Ntcham's shot was deflected in by Bednarek - but their lead lasted only seconds as Elyounoussi struck from close range.

Then as the Swans looked to regain the advantage, they were caught by a counter-attack from which Ward-Prowse's fine cross allowed Long to tap in at the back post to give Southampton victory.

Swansea head coach Russell Martin: "I'm really hurt by the way we lost that game. It was not acceptable.

"It hurts because of the lack of the right mentality to dig in, protect the lead, and go and play in the same way.

"We've plotted our own downfall really today. There were some outstanding individual performances.

"Going so long without a game has not helped but that's not an excuse. We shouldn't be conceding goals like their last two - one long kick and we're opened up."

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl: "We had a tough game with one man down.

"You normally have a relaxed evening with an early 1-0 lead but we had to fight hard and we wanted to get into the next round.

"It was a strange situation [playing behind closed doors] because we are not used to it anymore.

"I know that we can fight. I know we have a team with passion and high workload but the fixtures this week now are coming very quick. It does not get any easier with Brentford on Tuesday."

Watch five third-round ties live across the BBC including Manchester United v Aston Villa - plus highlights from every match (UK only). Read the full details here.

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