Sat | May 27, 2017

Martial stars for Man United

Published:Monday | September 21, 2015 | 9:00 AM
Manchester United’s Anthony Martial (right) scoring the equaliser during the English Premier League match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, England.

SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP):

Anthony Martial scored twice on his first Premier League start as Manchester United came from behind to beat Southampton 3-2 in the Premier League yesterday.

Graziano Pelle put Southampton ahead from close range after an outstanding David De Gea parried a point-blank volley from Sadio Mane in the 13th minute, but United equalised with its first notable attack. Maya Yoshida tackled Juan Mata as he controlled a high pass, but Martial was on hand to slot in the loose ball inside the penalty area.

Martial got his second with a composed finish after Yoshida underhit a pass to his goalkeeper in the 50th. Mata secured the win when he slotted in the rebound after Memphis Depay hit the post.

Pelle pulled a goal back with a header in the 86th, but De Gea made several late saves to help secure the win.

Wayne Rooney's return from a hamstring problem allowed Louis van Gaal to select his captain in a three-man attack alongside Memphis Depay and Martial for the first time this season and the 19-year-old Martial, who joined from Monaco for a fee which could cost United up to $90 million, shone for his new side.

The victory moves United second in the Premier League on 13 points, only two behind fierce rival Manchester City.

"I am very happy that with three matches, Martial has adapted to the system and he has three goals," Van Gaal said. "That's the most important thing of a striker, that he scores goals. He can improve, he has a high level of talent and he shows it under great pressure."

It was Southampton who began the game with the most attacking intent and Ronald Koeman's side deservedly took the lead after 13 minutes.

James Ward-Prowse whipped an inviting low cross into the penalty area and Mane guided the ball goalwards on the bounce, only for De Gea to beat it away.

But Pelle was first to the rebound and Southampton went ahead.

But United slowly recovered and hauled themselves level in the 34th. Juan Mata controlled a high ball over the top of the Southampton defence before Maya Yoshida tackled. The ball fell loose and Martial reacted quickest, rolling away from Virgil van Dijk and slotting low into the corner.

Yoshida gifted United and Martial five minutes after the interval. Under no pressure, his concentration lapsed as he passed the ball back to Maarten Stekelenburg.

The delivery was badly underhit and Martial raced to the ball and beat the goalkeeper again.

United appeared to make the game safe on 68 minutes.

Depay latched on to a neat pass in the penalty area from Bastian Schweinsteiger. He spun inside on his right, wrongfooting two Southampton defenders but blasted his shot against the post, before Mata converted the rebound.

In two other matches played yesterday, Liverpool were held at Anfield by Norwich, despite striker Daniel Sturridge partnering Christian Benteke in attack for the first time this season.

It was Danny Ings, who replaced the injured Benteke at half-time, who scored for Liverpool before Russel Martin levelled.

Tottenham beat Palace as South Korea forward Son Heung-min scored his first Premier League goal.