Aribo scores debut Premier League goal in Southampton comeback against Leeds United

Southampton and Nigeria midfielder Joe Aribo.Getty.

Nigeria midfielder Joe Aribo came off the bench to score his debut Premier League goal as Southampton came from two goals down to force a 2-2 draw with Leeds United at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday.

After a goalless first half, the Saints found themselves down when Spanish forward Rodrigo gave Leeds the lead just seconds after the restart before he completed his brace 14 minutes later.

That forced Southampton coach Ralph Hasenhuttl into three substitutions after 61 minutes as he took off Scottish midfielder Stuart Armstrong for Aribo, defender Jan Bednarek for French forward Sekou Mara while Adam Armstrong came in for Mohamed Elyounoussi.

Hasenhuttl then switched from 5-3-2 to a 4-3-3 formation with Aribo, Mara and Adam Armstrong offering a triple threat to the Leeds defence.

The changes nearly paid off one minute later when Aribo drew a great save from Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier. The former Rangers man rose highest to meet a cross and glanced a promising header from close range, but the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant stop to keep it out.

The Super Eagles midfielder was not to be denied 10 minutes later, however, he showed great composure to pull one back for the Saints in the 72nd minute.

Adam Armstrong’s explosive pace down the left allowed him the space to cross and find Aribo, and the midfielder showed tremendous composure to round Meslier and find the bottom corner for his first Premier League goal.

Southampton kept pushing and their relentlessness yielded an unlikely comeback when Kyle Walker-Peters completed an unlikely comeback. Mara’s threaded through ball found Walker-Peters inside the box, and the full-back rifled his finish through Meslier to secure the Saints’ first point of the season.

Aribo, who joined Southampton from Rangers for £10m this summer, ended the game with two shots on target, one yielding a goal, and had 19 touches with a 70 percent pass completion rate in the 29 minutes he was on the pitch.

The Nigerian started Southampton’s opening match against Tottenham Hotspur and completed 90 minutes as they lost 4-1 last weekend but was dropped to bench for the visit of Leeds.

Meanwhile, Ghana defender Mohammed Salisu had a much-improved game from last week as he started his second straight match at the heart of the Saints defence.

Salisu, who scored an own goal last week, made four clearances and as many tackles while winning seven of his 14 ground and two aerial duels. He, however, lost possession 24 times while his four fouls earned him a yellow card.

Aribo scores debut goal

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