LEEDS — A superb free kick from Brazilian winger Raphinha capped a 3-0 win for Leeds United over Southampton at Elland Road on Tuesday, condemning the struggling Saints to their seventh defeat in eight Premier League games.
The tone was set for Southampton in the first half when a decision to award them a penalty after Nathan Tella appeared to be felled in the box was overturned by referee Andre Marriner following a VAR review.
Marriner also ruled out a goal for the Saints from a quickly-taken free kick just before halftime, saying he had not blown the whistle before James Ward-Prowse played in Che Adams, who put the ball in the net.
Leeds went ahead two minutes into the second half when Tyler Roberts played an incisive pass to Patrick Bamford, who fired across the goalkeeper and into the net.
Stuart Dallas made it 2-0 in the 78th minute, collecting Helder Costa’s pass before blasting a toe-poke past Alex McCarthy.
Leeds’ first goal from a direct free kick this season was worth the wait as Raphinha stepped up six minutes later to curl a dipping strike in at the far post after a foul on Costa.
Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa said the game was a lot closer than the scoreline suggested and it was decided by the tactical battle on the wings.
“We were alternating between Raphinha, Helder Costa and Jack Harrison to see which adapted best to what was happening on both sides. In the second half when we scored quickly, there were more possibilities for Raphinha to get in behind more,” he said.
The win brought to an end a two-game losing run for Leeds and lifted them to 10th place in the table on 35 points, while Southampton remain 14th on 30 points, eight points above the relegation places.
Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar; Reuters