A point each at St Mary’s.
Southampton 2 (Aribo 72’, Walker-Peters 81’)
Leeds United 2 (Rodrigo 46’, 60’)
Saints: Bazunu (GK), Walker-Peters, Ward-Prowse (C), Adams, S. Armstrong (Aribo 61’), Djenepo (Stephens 90’), Salisu, Elyounoussi (A. Armstrong 61’) Bednarek (Mara 70’), Bella-Kotchap, Lavia. Subs not used: McCarthy (GK), Lyanco, Romeu, Diallo, Valery.
Leeds: Meslier (GK), Koch, Aaronson, Roca (Forshaw 88’), Bamford (C) (James 28’ (Sinisterra 84’)), Harrison (Klich 84’), Adams, Llorente, Rodrigo, Struijk, Kristensen. Subs not used: Klaesson (GK), Summerville, Hjelde, Drameh, Greenwood.
Venue: St Mary’s Stadium
Referee: Tony Harrington
Booked: Salisu (Saints) Harrison, Kristensen, Aaronson (Leeds)
Leeds United made it four points from their first two matches after drawing with Southampton on Saturday afternoon, but will have been disappointed not to have taken all three from this one after being two goals ahead.
Jesse Marsch took his side to a sun-soaked St Mary’s Stadium to face Southampton, in a first away match of the season for the Whites and their superb travelling support.
A relatively even start to proceedings on the south coast saw very few chances. Patrick Bamford flicked an effort just wide at the near post, whilst Illan Meslier did well to claim a loose ball in the box after an initial scramble to clear.
When a chance did look like arriving, Diego Llorente put in a superb last-ditch challenge to deny Stuart Armstrong rushing in on goal. The home side believed their player was fouled, but following a VAR check it was shown that the Spaniard had indeed won the ball with a perfect sliding tackle.
Marsch was forced to go to his bench midway through the half to make a change up top. Bamford’s game was over and that meant Dan James was brought into the action in his place.
Shortly after coming on, James had the best chance of the game. Good work from Jack Harrison created a chance for the forward to run through on goal and his powerful left-footed effort forced Gavin Bazunu into an excellent one-handed save, tipping wide for a corner.
From the set-play, Leeds should have taken the lead. Brenden Aaronson whipped the ball in and Rodrigo flicked it on at the front post. Rasmus Kristensen was arriving unmarked at the back-post and did connect with the ball, but it failed to trouble Bazunu in the Saints net.
There were no further chances before the break meaning that the whistle blew for half-time with the game goalless,
HALF TIME: Southampton 0-0 Leeds United
The Whites came back out unchanged for the second half and got just start the start they wanted, going ahead within a minute of the restart!
Harrison caused problems down the left and whipped a dangerous ball towards the front post, where the onrushing Rodrigo had timed his run to perfect and smartly flicked the ball into the back of the net with his left-foot, to put Leeds ahead!
The pressing and constant harrying of the Southampton defence was impressive from Marsch’s side, especially in such sweltering conditions. The pressure forced the hosts into giving away needless corner, which Rodrigo flicked onto the roof of the net this time with a looping header.
From another superbly worked set-play, the Whites doubled their advantage! From Aaronson’s cross into the box, Pascal Struijk flicked a header over Bazunu towards the back post, where Rodrigo was there to turn home at close range to get his and Leeds United’s second!
With the home side then looking to get back into the match, the recently introduced Joe Aribo found the chance which would have. However, a combination of Llorente, Robin Koch and Struijk combined to block the goal bound effort and then clear the danger.
However, with just under 20 minutes to go, Aribo did find the back of the net this time to bring his team back into the match. He combined with fellow substitute Adam Armstrong by collecting the ball in the box from his teammate, before remaining composed to slot home.
The home side then drew level in the match with eight minutes to play. Sekou Mara picked out the run of Kyle Walker-Peters in behind the Leeds defence and he managed to slide the ball home into the far corner to make it two-apiece.
With six minutes of stoppage time added, the final chance of the second half fell to Leeds, and to the inform Rodrigo. His fierce left-footed strike was on target, but Bazunu kept it out at full stretch.
The full-time whistle blew and confirmed a point for either side, meaning Marsch’s side had started their 2022/23 Premier League campaign with four points from a possible six.
FULL TIME: Southampton 2-2 Leeds United