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Samuel Edozie on target again as Southampton hammer 10-man Blackburn

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 Dec 2023

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Samuel Edozie netted for the second time in a week as Southampton dispatched Blackburn 4-0 to extend their unbeaten run to 14 matches.

Winger Edozie poked in a corner before Stuart Armstrong’s third goal of the season, Sekou Mara’s tap-in and Carlos Alcaraz’s finish punished Rovers, who had Callum Brittain sent off after two yellow cards.

Alcaraz also missed a penalty for the hosts but they secured a fifth straight home win for the first time since 2014 and continued their best streak for 39 years.

Southampton boasted 73 per cent of possession in a first half in which Blackburn sat back and tried not to concede. But Saints had little to show for their domination until the 44th-minute goal.

Stuart Armstrong showed nifty footwork before whipping a shot past the post, while Edozie and Will Smallbone caused panic in the box with their quick feet and Sondre Tronstad was forced to head onto the roof of his own goal.

James Bree ran onto a volley, Adam Armstrong charged down goalkeeper Leopold Wahlstedt and Smallbone’s controlled finish from Stuart Armstrong’s cross continued the largely one-way traffic.

The only time that flow changed was in the 24th minute when the visitors won a free-kick on the edge of the Saints box.

Championship top scorer Sammie Szmodics smashed through the wall before Brittain followed up – with both kept out by Gavin Bazunu’s strong wrists.

Edozie had returned to the starting XI for the first time since October after scoring against Coventry in the week.

He rewarded Russell Martin, and capped the authoritative first half, by prodding in a Bree corner on the cusp of half-time.

After Wahlstedt had brilliantly denied Stuart Armstrong, Blackburn showed off their attacking pedigree for the first time as Bazunu had to be cute to save from Andrew Moran and Harry Leonard.

But that momentum was squashed in the 55th minute when Brittain needlessly received his second booking for kicking the ball away, having got his first for a shirt pull on Kyle Walker-Peters.

That only made Southampton’s task easier and nine minutes later, Stuart Armstrong stroked in after Flynn Downes had broken through and been chopped down.

Self-preservation was the name of the last half an hour for Rovers but they could not prevent Southampton’s fresh legs.

Alcaraz’s ‘Panenka’ penalty went over the bar, after Hayden Carter had downed Mara, and Wahlstedt stunningly denied Ryan Fraser.

Saints added gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time as Mara turned in Fraser’s cross and Alcaraz thumped in a rebound after Smallbone had been thwarted.

Saints went level on points with third-placed Leeds and closed the gap to the runaway top two to 10 points.

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