Premier League
Southampton1West Brom0

Southampton 1-0 West Bromwich Albion

Sofiane Boufal scores for Southampton against West Brom
Sofiane Boufal broke from deep in his own half before applying a low finish from 18 yards

Substitute Sofiane Boufal scored a sublime individual goal as Southampton snatched a late winner against a West Brom side who remain without a win since August.

The Morocco international picked the ball up deep in his own half and evaded several challenges before curling into the bottom corner with five minutes remaining.

His manager Mauricio Pellegrino called it one of the "most beautiful goals of this season" on a day when his side's recent tendency to miss chances on home soil continued, while West Brom's lack of ambition proved costly.

Saints' Ryan Bertrand struck the woodwork with a fine early free-kick, before Shane Long missed from three yards as his wait for a goal extended to 26 games.

West Brom - forced to reshuffle at the back when Jonny Evans went off injured - defended stoutly and could have led after the break when Jay Rodriguez beat the offside trap but fired well wide.

Tony Pulis' side looked content with a point for long spells and they have now won only twice in 18 league matches - a figure they will do well to improve upon with fixtures against Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham to come in their next four games.

Boufal applies finishing touch

Southampton's Oriel Romeu fails to convert a chance from close range against West Brom
Southampton's Oriel Romeu missed from close range in the first half as they struggled to finish opportunities until Boufal struck

When Boufal was introduced on 81 minutes his side looked like they would fail to win for the 10th time in 11 home games.

Goals have been hard to come by - Mauricio Pellegrino's side have failed to score in eight of those 11 matches - and for long spells the quality of their final pass and shooting failed to match their obvious effort.

Long was a prime example as he made selfless runs but when his moment arrived at the end of a rapid counter-attack he could only prod wide.

Manolo Gabbiadini, who scored twice against Newcastle last week, produced only tame efforts, while Maya Yoshida and Dusan Tadic had efforts saved, and Charlie Austin found the woodwork from a narrow angle in injury time.

In all, the home side hit the target only six times from 20 attempts but Boufal's goal deservedly won the game as he slalomed past challenges before coolly picking his spot to move Southampton up to 10th in the table.

The 24-year-old - a £16m signing in August 2016 - has started only one league game this season, but suggested he can fulfil a more important role while Pellegrino's other options find a goalscoring touch.

Afterwards, Match of the Day pundit Phil Neville said: "What I liked about the run was the balance and the finish was sublime. One of the goals of the season we have seen so far. I will criticise him though for running up to the manager to prove a point. Go up and give him a hug, calm down."

Did Pulis get it wrong?

Graphic showing how West Brom touched the ball just once in the Southampton area before half-time
West Brom (right) touched the ball just once in the Southampton area before half-time

Pulis may face some criticism for his approach against a side who arguably carry limited threat compared to others in the league.

Although West Brom are 13th in the table, wins in their first two games this season remain their only league victories since March.

The Baggies are used to conceding possession and this was the 93rd time in 103 matches under Pulis they have seen less of the ball than their opponents.

With Salomon Rondon leading the line on his own, they struggled to create openings and Pulis admitted they were "flat" in a first-half where they had just one touch in the home penalty area.

Rodriguez had time to take a touch when he shot first time to drill their best opening wide after half-time, while a Nacer Chadli effort from range was their only other shot on target.

Ahmed Hegazi was again impressive at the heart of their defence and there could be greater onus on him in a testing run of fixtures if the news is not good when both Evans and Craig Dawson have scans on injuries on Sunday.

Man of the match - Sofiane Boufal

Man of the match Sofiane Boufal celebrates his winner against West Brom with team-mate Virgil van Dijk
Boufal only came on 81 minutes in but to win a game with a goal of such class means he was ultimately the difference maker. Ahmed Hegazi had impressed at the back for West Brom, while Mario Lemina completed 94% of his passes in a solid midfield display for the home side. Goals such as Boufal's though are rare.

Baggies' possession worry - the stats

  • Saints have scored just six goals in their last 11 Premier League home games.
  • Of Premier League fixtures played at least 15 times, games between these two sides have averaged just 1.47 goals per game (22 goals in 15 games), fewer than any other clash.
  • The Baggies have posted a league-low 37% possession figure in the Premier League this season.
  • Sofiane Boufal's goal was his first in his last 23 Premier League appearances, since netting against Middlesbrough in December 2016.

'He's gone past five players' - manager reaction

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Tony Pulis says 'wonderful' Saints goal down to errors

Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino: "It was a physical game, the weather conditions wasn't the best, but we put them under pressure. We created chances and scored at the end.

"Sofiane has got ability to do it, we had to change at the end because they put five defenders. We made the right decision and got the victory for more confidence for the next game."

West Brom boss Tony Pulis on Boufal's goal: "The viewers will see it and think it's a wonderful goal. He's going past five players, one or two you'd hope would do better. It's disappointing.

"Second half we changed it and had a lot more chances. We really had the best opportunity of the game - if we score there it's a different game."

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Mauricio Pellegrino says Saints deserved a 'difficult' win

Up next?

West Brom host Premier League leaders Manchester City on Saturday at 15:00 BST, while Southampton travel to south-coast rivals Brighton next Sunday (13:30).

Line-ups

Southampton

  • 44Forster
  • 2Cédric Soares
  • 3Yoshida
  • 17van Dijk
  • 21Bertrand
  • 14RomeuSubstituted forRedmondat 69'minutes
  • 18Lemina
  • 8Davis
  • 11TadicSubstituted forBoufalat 81'minutes
  • 20Gabbiadini
  • 7LongSubstituted forAustinat 81'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Hoedt
  • 10Austin
  • 13McCarthy
  • 16Ward-Prowse
  • 19Boufal
  • 22Redmond
  • 38McQueen

West Brom

  • 1Foster
  • 25DawsonSubstituted forat 88'minutes
  • 6EvansSubstituted forNyomat 32'minutes
  • 26Hegazi
  • 3Gibbs
  • 19Rodriguez
  • 20Krychowiak
  • 8Livermore
  • 18BarrySubstituted forMcAuleyat 53'minutes
  • 22ChadliBooked at 67minsSubstituted forPhillipsat 77'minutes
  • 9Rondón

Substitutes

  • 2Nyom
  • 5Yacob
  • 10Phillips
  • 11Brunt
  • 13Myhill
  • 14McClean
  • 23McAuley
Referee:
Graham Scott
Attendance:
29,947

Match Stats

Home TeamSouthamptonAway TeamWest Brom
Possession
Home66%
Away34%
Shots
Home20
Away7
Shots on Target
Home6
Away2
Corners
Home8
Away3
Fouls
Home10
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Southampton 1, West Bromwich Albion 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Southampton 1, West Bromwich Albion 0.

Charlie Austin (Southampton) hits the right post with a right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right. Assisted by Sofiane Boufal.

Sofiane Boufal (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jay Rodriguez (West Bromwich Albion).

Craig Dawson went off injured after West Bromwich Albion had used all subs.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion) because of an injury.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Mario Lemina.

Goal!

Goal! Southampton 1, West Bromwich Albion 0. Sofiane Boufal (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

Offside, Southampton. Maya Yoshida tries a through ball, but Manolo Gabbiadini is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Southampton. Charlie Austin replaces Shane Long.

Substitution

Substitution, Southampton. Sofiane Boufal replaces Dusan Tadic.

Attempt missed. Nathan Redmond (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ryan Bertrand following a set piece situation.

Dusan Tadic (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Gareth McAuley (West Bromwich Albion).

Mario Lemina (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jay Rodriguez (West Bromwich Albion).

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Matt Phillips replaces Nacer Chadli.

Attempt blocked. Dusan Tadic (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Cédric Soares.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Fraser Forster.

Attempt saved. Nacer Chadli (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

Attempt saved. Dusan Tadic (Southampton) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Nathan Redmond.

Substitution

Substitution, Southampton. Nathan Redmond replaces Oriol Romeu.

Attempt saved. Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Steven Davis.

Booking

Nacer Chadli (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Dusan Tadic (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Nacer Chadli (West Bromwich Albion).

Attempt missed. Cédric Soares (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Virgil van Dijk.

Dusan Tadic (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jake Livermore (West Bromwich Albion).

Foul by Maya Yoshida (Southampton).

Salomón Rondón (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Mario Lemina (Southampton).

Grzegorz Krychowiak (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Jay Rodriguez (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Grzegorz Krychowiak.

Attempt saved. Kieran Gibbs (West Bromwich Albion) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Allan Nyom with a cross.

Hand ball by Salomón Rondón (West Bromwich Albion).

Attempt missed. Jay Rodriguez (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Foul by Ryan Bertrand (Southampton).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City98103242825
2Man Utd96212241820
3Tottenham85211551017
4Chelsea95131710716
5Watford94321517-215
6Newcastle9423108214
7Arsenal84131210213
8Liverpool83411312113
9Burnley934289-113
10Southampton933389-112
11Huddersfield9333710-312
12Brighton9324910-111
13West Brom9243710-310
14Leicester92341214-29
15Swansea9225610-48
16Everton8224513-88
17West Ham9225817-98
18Stoke92251020-108
19Bournemouth9216613-77
20Crystal Palace9108219-173
View full Premier League table

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