United concedes late to draw 1-1 with Southampton

Southampton highlighted Manchester United’s vulnerability under

new manager David Moyes by grabbing an 89th-minute equalizer to

draw 1-1, leaving the champions eight points off the early pace in

the English Premier League on Saturday.

Having lost 2-1 to West Bromwich Albion in its last home game,

United’s aura of invincibility at Old Trafford took a further knock

when Adam Lallana glanced home from close range to earn Southampton

a deserved point.

Robin van Persie put United ahead in the 26th, pouncing on a

rebound after Wayne Rooney had a shot blocked, but Moyes’ side

never looked convincing against opponents who traveled north

without any fear.

Why should they, having beaten then-leader Liverpool away

already this season?

”We wanted to get a bit of momentum going today but we didn’t

get it,” said Moyes, whose tough start to life as Alex Ferguson’s

successor just became even tougher.

Southampton, one of the surprises of the league in this

campaign, started the game in the top four and won’t be too far

from the top of the table come the end of the season on this

evidence.

”Why not?” responded Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino,

when asked if qualifying for the Champions League was a realistic

aim. ”We want to keep on believing we can keep on doing well.

”Getting a win at Anfield and getting a positive result here is

amazing for our team. It gives the squad so much belief that we can

go on and do amazing things.”

With league leader Arsenal showing no sign of slowing up, it

could get worse before it gets better for United. Eleven points

from eight games is a poor return for a club the size of United,

which won the league by 11 points last season.

At times, they were outplayed by Southampton, with Van Persie

and the ineffective Rooney being well shackled on the whole.

Southampton just lacked that cutting edge, which was found in

the last minute when James Ward-Prowse’s inswinging corner was

volleyed goalward by Dejan Lovren. Lallana got the slightest of

glances near the goal-line to turn the ball in, although there was

confusion as to who got the final touch. The Premier League gave

the goal to Lallana after deliberation.

”Disappointing to lose the goal late on,” Moyes said. ”We had

opportunities to finish the game off.”

He was probably referring to Rooney’s shot that crashed against

the bar moments after Van Persie’s goal, as well as Adnan Januzaj’s

swerving shot that was brilliantly kept out one-handed by

Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc.

Hours after signing a new five-year contract with United, the

18-year-old Januzaj was handed another start and another chance to

enhance his burgeoning reputation. The Belgium-born winger couldn’t

repeat his exploits of two weeks ago, when he scored twice in

United’s come-from-behind win at Sunderland, but it was his

incisive pass that led to Van Persie’s goal.

Januzaj’s curling through-ball to Rooney put the England striker

through, but his first-time shot was saved by Boruc. The ball

rebounded out to Van Persie, who rounded the goalkeeper and placed

the ball to the side of the sprawling Lovren, who was covering on

the line.

”He hasn’t looked out of place in the team,” Moyes said.

Southampton started and finished strongly, though, with Italy

striker Dani Osvaldo sidefooting straight at goalkeeper David de

Gea with the team’s best early chance before Nathaniel Clyne

brought a smart save from the Spaniard with five minutes left.

There was still time for Lallana to pounce, adding to United’s

woes.