Thursday, May 23, 2024

West Brom 0-0 Southampton: Hawthorns draw sets up intriguing second leg

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 12 May 2024

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West Brom and Southampton played out a goalless draw at the Hawthorns on Sunday in the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final.

Both teams had plenty of chances, but a combination of poor finishing and impressive goalkeeping from the Saints’ Alex McCarthy and the Baggies’ Alex Palmer ensured the tie remains finely poised for the return leg at St Mary’s Stadium on Friday.

Roared on by a loud Hawthorns, the hosts started well but were unable to capitalise, and it was Southampton who went closest in the first half as Kyle Walker-Peters smashed a deflected effort wide, while Palmer kept out Flynn Downes’ shot.

West Brom rallied, though, and had a golden opportunity to take the lead with 33 minutes on the clock as Grady Diangana nodded Tom Fellows’ cross goalwards, only for McCarthy to get across and make a brilliant stop.

The tempo slowed somewhat after the interval, but the game burst into life again with just over 10 minutes to play, as McCarthy denied Diangana before substitute Ross Stewart lashed goalwards up the other end, only to see his shot somehow kept out by the wrong-footed Palmer.

Both sides pressed for a precious goal late on, but neither could break the deadlock and it remains all to play for at St Mary’s to see who will face either Leeds United or Norwich City at Wembley on May 26.

Data debrief

There was certainly attacking endeavour on display at the Hawthorns, but neither side could find the back of the net despite the teams combining for 1.76 xG (expected goals), split 1.03 for Southampton and 0.73 for the hosts.

With Norwich and Leeds drawing 0-0 in their first leg earlier on Sunday, it is the first time since 2011 that the first leg of both Championship play-off semi-finals have ended goalless.

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