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2 September 2012
• St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Hampshire
Referee: M. Dean
• Attendance: 31609
R. Lambert 16'
M. Schneiderlin 55'
R. van Persie 23', 87', 90'+
The referee draws the action to a close here and United have done it at the death - Robin Van Persie nets a hat-trick, the third his 100th in the Premier League, as Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates his 1,000th match in charge with a win. Southampton twice led through Lambert and Schneiderlin, but Van Persie made amends for a poor penalty to grab United's first away win of the season, while Saints must rue another 3-2 defeat to Mancunian opposition. What a fantastic game of Premier League football - stick with Goal.com for a full Match Report and Player Ratings. For now, it's goodbye from St Mary's!
90' + 4'
Penalty shout for Southampton as Ferdinand clambers all over his man to head clear, but Mike Dean is not interested. United in possession again here - and that's it at St Mary's!
90' + 3'
There's about 30 seconds to go here - can Saints salvage a point?
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
Goal Robin van Persie
GOAL!! VAN PERSIE DOES IT AGAIN!! Nani's corner is right on the money and Van Persie flicks a header beyond Davis to net his 100th Premier League goal! Sensational!
Four minutes to play here - can someone find a winner?
Great corner from Ward-Prowse, and Vidic just gets a touch to turn it behind. A scramble ensues from Fox's follow-up delivery, and eventually it drops to him 25 yards out but he smashes well over.
Goal Robin van Persie
Nani's corner is picked up by Rafael, who crosses for Rio Ferdinand. His header smacks off the post and Van Persie taps it home! We're level at St Mary's, but it's not over yet...
GOAL!! 2-2, AND IT'S VAN PERSIE WHO'S DONE IT!!
The last time United lost their first two away games of the season, they were relegated. Now I'm not suggesting the downright bizarre here, but if this does remain 2-1, some serious questions will be asked.
Southampton are working harder than ever now to restrict United to long, hopeful passes. Terrific defending from Nigel Adkins' side.
Southampton put the ball out as Rafael gets gingerly to his feet, and United return possession. Hernandez tries to reach Ferdinand's ball but Hooivelt does well to intervene. Time running out here for the visitors.
Nani's delivery, however, is bizarrely clipped to the edge of the area towards Rafael, who can't reach it and fouls his man. What a waste from United there.
Nani takes on Clyne and puts in a cross which is scuffed over the bar for a corner. Chance here for the visitors.
United are laying siege to Southampton's goal, but the defence have dealt admirably with a series of crosses from left and right. Now Davis brings it clear for the hosts, but Ferdinand wins a free-kick and United can come again.
Rickie Lambert departs to a hero's reception from the St Mary's faithful, with Guly Do Prado entering the fray.
United have been galvanised by that penalty miss as they begin to dominate possession. Van Persie lays back to Scholes but his chipped pass is caught by Davis. United back in possession with Valencia now.
Desperate to make amends, Van Persie races onto Scholes' pass and turns his man before firing right-footed over the bar. Javier Hernandez is on for Danny Welbeck as United chase an equaliser here.
Davis in fact clawed that one away with his hand, but it was a dreadful effort from the Dutchman, and Southampton are buzzing once more.
Missed Penalty Robin van Persie
Yellow Card Jos Hooiveld
SAVED! Van Persie clips it down the middle and Davis gets a foot to the ball!
PENALTY - HOOIVELT TAKES OUT VAN PERSIE!
And Lambert almost hands Ward-Prowse the chance for a third, beating the offside trap and cutting the ball back across goal, but Ferdinand sticks out a leg to clear.
Cries of 'Lambert for England!' echoing around the ground now. Might be a bit premature, but with Carroll injured, who knows....?
CHANCE - great challenge! Lambert finds Lallana at the edge of the box and the midfield man has a great chance for a shot but Evra covers with a brilliant tackle. Lambert then finds his man again but the flag is up for offside.
Good save from Davis! Scholes almost has an instant impact as he slips the ball through to Van Persie, who fires goalwards from a tight angle only for the keeper to block well.
Southampton are brimming with confidence now and Puncheon has another chance to the left of the area but he smashes it high and behind the goal. Double change for United - Scholes for Cleverley, Nani for Kagawa.
PUNCHEON - SAVED! Lambert feeds the wide man, who turns past Evra and smashes low but Lindegaard turns it behind for a corner, which he then gathers comfortably. Big test for United coming up here...
How telling could that miss be from Van Persie? Lambert picks it up to the left of the area, he cuts back onto his right and crosses for the far post where Evra slips to allow Schneiderlin a free header, and he makes no mistake from six yards. 2-1 Southampton!
Assist Rickie Lambert
Goal Morgan Schneiderlin
GOAL! Schneiderlin makes it 2-1!!
WHAT A MISS FROM VAN PERSIE!! Valencia intercepts a poor kick from Kelvin Davis and squares the ball for the Dutchman, who opens out his body to sidefoot home but he puts it wide of the far post. Huge let-off for the hosts there, and particularly the man between the sticks.
Schneiderlin launches a free-kick into a packed penatly area but Rafael heads clear. Fox tries to cross from the right but it spins behind for a goal-kick.
Puncheon has been lively all afternoon, and he fashioned a great shooting opportunity there after cutting in from the right but Carrick blocked his effort with a well-timed tackle. United throw near half-way.
CHANCE - just wide! Terrific link-up play between Kagawa and Van Persie. The Japanese advances on goal and hits it left-footed but it goes just wide of Davis' left-hand post. Close call for Saints there.
Saints have come out with the same pressing game that served them so well in the first. Puncheon wins it and tries to feed Lambert but the flag is up for offside. United will start again from the back...
It looks as though Nathaniel Clyne has changed his boots after slipping more than once during the first half, including for Van Persie's goal... Anyway, second half is underway!
This one is perfectly balanced as we approach the restart, so how do you the action panning out over the next 45? Head on over to @GoalUK and hit me with your best predictions...!
45' + 1'
And with that, the half is brought to a close at St Mary's, with the teams locked at 1-1. Rickie Lambert opened the scoring for the Saints with a typically well-taken header, before Robin Van Persie controlled and finished superbly after Valencia picked him out with a cross. A goal apiece is just about right on the balance of play here on the south coast - stay tuned for the second half!
VAN PERSIE... almost! Another terrific long ball from Carrick drops right over the top of the centre-backs, but the Dutchman just can't control the ball over his shoulder and Davis gathers. That's twice the visitors have made that play work - Nigel Adkins will want to watch that.
The half is very much finishing as it started here - United seeing plenty of the ball, but just unable to find a way past Southampton's excellent defensive unit. About a minute and a half to go here to the interval.
The tempo's just died down a little here as the half draws to a close. United continue to dictate play for the most part but Southampton are well organised and look dangerous whenever they come forward.
Good play from Valencia to win a throw down the right. The Ecuador man gets the ball back and flights the ball to the back post where Evra arrives to head downwards across goal, and Davis parries well.
Lovely passing again from the hosts but Ferdinand is able to shepherd Schneiderlin's through-ball safely back to his goalkeeper. Cleverley then tries a run towards goal and is brought down. United free-kick, just inside the Saints' half.
Some good interplay again between Lambert and Lallana allows the latter a shot at goal which has Lindegaard scrambling across goal as it bobbles wide. The Dane then nearly concedes possession with a poor kick up field, which Evra does well to keep in.
Ward-Prowse shoots wide after good link-up play with Davis. Southampton then regain possession from the goal-kick and Lambert flicks a long pass goalwards but Lindegaard gathers.
That leisurely effort from Van Persie seems to have calmed the tempo here somewhat. Southampton win it back from Cleverley and Lallana twists and turns past Rafael but his cross sails beyond the penalty area. Saints restart with a throw-in.
...but that wasn't his best by a long shot. Van Persie tries to clip the ball towards the top corner but it drifts harmlessly wide.
Fonte clatters into Welbeck after good work from Valencia and Rafael. Really dangerous position this one - 20 yards out, just to the left of goal. Cue Robin Van Persie...
There's a fantastic tempo to the game now. Van Persie does brilliantly to hold up play on the left and Welbeck tricks his way goalwards before Schneiderlin halts him with a great tackle. Moments later, Welbeck lays off to the Dutchman who tries to bend one into the top corner but it flies over the bar.
LAMBERT - just wide! Great response from the Saints as Lallana tees up Lambert, who smashes a half-volley just beyond Lindegaard's left-hand post. Terrific stuff here.
United work the ball out to Valencia, who is allowed to advance towards the penalty area before dinking a cross to the back post where Van Persie brings the ball down on his chest and fires low past Davis. All square at St Mary's!
Assist Antonio Valencia
Goal Robin van Persie
GOAL!! Van Persie equalises for Manchester United!!
Save from Davis! Cleverley wins it for United and feeds Kagawa, who strikes low and hard from 20 yards forcing the keeper to turn behind for a corner. The delivery comes to nothing.
United try to find a quick reply but Welbeck is tackled and Southampton come forward again. They've really stepped it up in the last ten minutes and fully deserve their lead.
What a moment for Southampton! Kagawa is caught on the ball and Saints find Puncheon on the right, who floats a cross to the far post where Lambert waits to head back across goal and beyond the static Lindegaard. 1-0 to the hosts!!
Assist Jason Puncheon
Goal Rickie Lambert
GOAL!! Lambert has put the hosts in front!!
Lallana strides forward again but his route to goal is blocked. He tees up Schneiderlin, who has a go from 25 yards with his weaker foot... and probably wishes he hadn't, as it sails over the crossbar.
Chance - just wide! Clever corner from the hosts as it's fired low towards Lallana near the penalty spot, but he drags a shot wide of the post under pressure. Neat play from the hosts there.
Southampton have steadily grown into the match now after United's early dominance on the ball. Carrick miscontrols a high ball and it runs for a corner...
Saints get forward down the right with Puncheon, who links up well with Lallana before looping his cross towards Lambert, but the big striker can only nod tamely into Lindegaard's grasp. Better from the hosts though.
Van Persie has looked lively so far - this time he tries a chip in behind for Welbeck bu he can't quite find his strike partner. At the other end, young Ward-Prowse spins around Vidic and races for goal but Lindegaard is out promptly to clear the danger.
Half a chance for Van Persie! Carrick flights a superb long ball over the top of the defence to the Dutchman, who pulls the ball down on his chest and pokes goalwards but it sails narrowly wide. Lovely play from the visitors.
United have settled into a good early rhythm here. Van Persie tries a delightful flick to Kagawa but the Japan man slips and Southampton can clear, but the visitors have the ball again and will work it from the back.
...but the delivery was poor and Southampton (eventually) regain possession in their own half.
Corner is cleared but Rafael wins a free-kick near the same corner-flag. Could be dangerous this, with Van Persie standing over it...
I'll say it again - tremendous atmosphere here today, with both sets of supporters belting out some songs from the stands. On the pitch, United have forced the first corner through Valencia.
And the visitors get us underway!
I saw Rickie Lambert take to the Moss Rose field for Macclesfield Town nigh on ten years ago - how he'd love to score today against another north-west outfit in his first Premier League campaign... Kick off moments away!
The teams are coming out now to a phenomenal reception - the St Mary's crowd are in fine voice today.
So De Gea is dropped in favour of Lindegaard, while Rio Ferdinand returns to defence and Michael Carrick is pushed up to midfield. For the Saints, Rickie Lambert stars up front, while there's another place in the XI for young James Ward-Prowse. Time for some predictions, folks - who are you backing to steal the south-coast limelight?
And for Manchester United: Lindegaard; Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Cleverley, Carrick, Kagawa; Valencia, Van Persie, Welbeck.
The hosts line up as follows: K Davis, Clyne, Fox, Fonte, Hooiveld; Puncheon, S Davis, Lallana, Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse; Lambert.
Good afternoon one and all and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Southampton v Manchester United! I'm Joe Wright and I'll be guiding you through all of this afternoon's action from St Mary's as Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates his 1,000th game in charge. Team news to follow!
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