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St. Mary's Stadium (ATT 29,596) 24th August 2013 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: L Mason

So'ton Southampton vs Sunderland S'land

So'ton 1

J Fonte (88)

ft

S'land 1

E Giaccherini (3)

Premier League: Sunderland and Southampton drew 1-1 at St Mary's Stadium

Last Updated: 24/08/13 7:07pm

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Emanuele Giaccherini: Celebrates his first Sunderland goal

Emanuele Giaccherini: Celebrates his first Sunderland goal

A Rickie Lambert-inspired Southampton rescued a late point against Sunderland with a 1-1 draw at St Mary's Stadium.

It had looked like an early goal from the diminutive Emanuele Giaccherini would see Paolo Di Canio's men take three points back to the north east.

Standing at just 5ft 5in, the smallest player of the pitch headed home a Sebastian Larsson corner unmarked in just the third minute.

Poor finishing, fine goalkeeping from Kieren Westwood and plain old bad luck looked set to deny Saints, only for centre-back Jose Fonte to head home two minutes from time.

Best of the match

  • Man of the match: Rickie Lambert's week last week was quite a story. The striker's confidence is booming at the moment, and it was clear to see. His peeling runs and penchant for dropping deep created problems for Sunderland's back four and he could have had a hat-trick.
  • Goal of the match: Southampton's goal wins this purely for James Ward-Prowse's excellent delivery which needed just one touch - provided by Jose Fonte - to fly in.
  • Save of the match: Kieren Westwood was in fine form today and kept Southampton at bay until late on, a trio of saves from Rickie Lambert the highlight.
  • Talking point: It was a completely different side we saw in Sunderland today as they came so close to defending a lead for nearly the whole game instead of chasing it, while Southampton will perhaps be a little worried it took them so long to find the breakthrough.

It was just reward for Mauricio Pochettino's side, who came into the clash buoyed by a fine opening-day win at West Brom and another big-money acquisition.

Following moves for Dejan Lovren and Victor Wanyama, Dani Osvaldo arrived this week from Roma for a fee that could reach £14.5million.

The forward was named amongst the substitutes at St Mary's, where another Italy international struck the first blow.

Larsson sent across a corner from the left found Giaccherini unmarked and he nodded home to the delight of the hardy 1,867 travelling fans.

It was hardly the start Southampton wanted but one they responded well to.

Rickie Lambert slipped through a fine ball to Jay Rodriguez, who slotted past Westwood and wheeled away in celebration - only for the linesman to rule the sixth-minute leveller out for offside.

Saints again came close 10 minutes later, with Westwood this time the man in the way.

James Ward-Prowse, one of three 18-year-old academy graduates in the starting line-up, sent over a looped cross to Lambert, with only an exquisite Westwood save down to his right preventing the England international heading home.

Neither side was managing to dominate play but Sunderland were looking the more confident, epitomised by a cheeky in-swinging Larsson corner that almost caught Artur Boruc off guard.

A Rodriguez snap-shot deflected wide off Craig Gardner when play returned to the other end, with Jozy Altidore proving a handful for Southampton's defence.

Lambert powered a header over at the back post, while Altidore, Fonte and Adam Lallana all had penalty appeals waved away before half-time.

Nathaniel Clyne and record-signing Osvaldo were introduced for the second period, with the latter close to having an immediate impact.

The Italian's deft pass saw Lallana with a clear shot on goal, only for Modibo Diakite to swoop in with a fantastic, late tackle.

The Saints captain saw a right-footed half volley curl just wide shortly afterwards, before an Osvaldo cross found Rodriguez, only for the Saints attacker to head straight at Westwood from close range.

Westwood did well to tip a long-range Lambert strike around the post but Saints were still struggling at the back, with only the onrushing Boruc preventing Altidore doubling the Black Cats' advantage.

It was Southampton in the ascendancy, though, and they kept knocking on the visitors' door.

Lambert and Rodriguez were the next to threaten, although the intensity began to peter out with 15 minutes remaining.

Osvaldo headed into the ground under pressure from John O'Shea as the match entered the closing stages as tempers began to fray.

Ironic cheers met referee Lee Mason's award for a foul on the new boy late on - a decision that led to Saints equalising at the death.

Ward-Prowse floated in the free-kick and centre-back Fonte met the ball with a powerful header that at last beat Westwood.

Rodriguez saw a shot deflect wide as Saints pushed for another in stoppage time, but there were to be no further goals.

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Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 32 76
2 Arsenal 32 66
3 Manchester United 33 65
4 Manchester City 33 64
5 Liverpool 32 57
6 Tottenham Hotspur 33 57
7 Southampton 33 56
8 Swansea City 33 47
9 Stoke City 33 46
10 West Ham United 33 43
11 Crystal Palace 33 42
12 Everton 33 41
13 West Bromwich Albion 33 36
14 Newcastle United 33 35
15 Aston Villa 33 32
16 Sunderland 32 29
17 Hull City 32 28
18 Leicester City 32 28
19 Queens Park Rangers 33 26
20 Burnley 33 26

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