Swansea 2 – 3 So’ton

Southampton survived Yan Valery’s first-half dismissal to reach round four of the FA Cup with a 3-2 overtime win in Swansea.

The Saints spent a full 90 minutes with up to 10 men, but goals from Nathan Redmond, Mohamed Elyounoussi and Shane Long saw them go from a draw played behind closed doors due to the Welsh government’s coronavirus regulations.

Joel Piroe had led the tie after 77 minutes before Jan Bednarek’s own goal briefly put Swansea ahead in extra time.

The lack of crowds did not favor league side Swansea, who were unable to upset the shrewd Premier League opponents during a one-sided opening.

Valery’s second dismissal in English football offered Swansea encouragement, but Southampton – FA Cup semi-finalists last season – showed enormous character to fuel hopes for another productive run in the competition.

Swansea had not played since 11 December due to Covid-19 both in the team and in the opposition fields.

There were few signs of rust when Liam Walsh, making his first home start since arriving in the summer, sizzled a 20-yard shot just to the side of the target.

Valery was later cautioned for taking down Ryan Manning during that move and the overdue challenge would come back to haunt the French winger.

Redmond hadn’t scored since Southampton’s Carabao Cup record 8-0 win in nearby Newport in August.

But Redmond concluded with confidence after Nathan Tella celebrated his new contract with the Saints by intercepting Walsh’s pass and finding the striker with a measured pass.

Image:
Southampton’s Nathan Redmond (right) celebrates with Nathan Tella after scoring their team’s first goal of the game

Southampton dominated possession and Valery, prominent on the right wing, saw a deflected angled shot on Ben Hamer’s goal.

But the complexion of the tie changes in the half hour when Valery is caught out by a diagonal from Liam Cullen.

Valery reached out to block former Saints forward Michael Obafemi’s run and referee Simon Hooper deemed the act worthy of a second yellow card.

Saints skipper James Ward-Prowse turned back to fill the role of Valery’s right-back and Swansea took control before half-time.

Piroe’s deflected attempt was handily picked up by Fraser Forster and Kyle Naughton and Flynn Downes skied.

Southampton defended firmly at the start of the second period and should have been in the lead just before the hour.

Ward-Prowse threw a free-kick at the far post and unmarked Jack Stephens sent his header to the side of the uppercut.

Swansea had created little but was level when Naughton broke behind the visitors’ defense. His cross fell gently to Piroe and the Dutch striker scored his 13th goal of the season on the roof of the Saints net.

Forster saved Southampton in the last minute by pulling out a foot to block Piroe, but the giant goalkeeper had no chance in four minutes of extra time when Bednarek deflected an Olivier Ntcham shot on him.

The lead lasted less than 60 seconds as Long set substitute mate Elyounoussi and the Swansea defense vanished decisively again after 102 minutes.

Ward-Prowse crossed paths and this time Long was the unmarked taker to seal Southampton’s fifth win in their last six visits to Swansea and a place in the last 32 of the FA Cup.

What’s next?

Swansea will face Huddersfield on Saturday in the league at 15:00, while Southampton will host Brentford at St Mary’s on Tuesday in the Premier League; start at 7.45pm.

When is the FA Cup fourth round draw?

The draw for the FA Cup fourth round will take place on Sunday 9 January following West Ham’s clash with Leeds at the London Stadium at around 4:50 pm.

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