Newcastle vs Southampton match report: Eljero Elia double justifies Ronald Koeman's faith to keep Saints marching on to top three

Newcastle 1 Southampton 2: New signing scored twice to cancel out Yoan Gouffran's lucky equaliser

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The Independent Football

Onwards and upwards, the Saints march on. Week after week Southampton are writing one of the stories of the season.

This was a fifth win in six Premier League games – the other was a draw with Chelsea – and a third away win in a week. When the hardy Saints fans high in the away end chorused: “We are staying up”

after each of their goals, they were mocking relegation concerns. Where Southampton are staying is in the Champions League places.

Having been leapfrogged by Manchester United, and having seen Tottenham and Liverpool win in the afternoon, the evening response by Ronald Koeman’s maturing squad was nerveless. They regained third place.

 

Even without key players - Victor Wanyama, Morgan Schneiderlin and Toby Alderweireld – and having played at Ipswich on Wednesday in the FA Cup while Newcastle rested, Koeman was still able to select a side that controlled most of this match.

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Eljero Elia scores the opening goal for Southampton

Men such as Jose Fonte, Graziano Pelle and Steven Davis performed with cool efficiency and skill, as did youngsters Harrison Reed and James Ward-Prowse. Up front, Koeman’s latest addition, Eljero Elia, scored his first two goals in English football.

Elia only arrived on loan from Werder Bremen in time to make his debut at Old Trafford last weekend, but he has acclimitised swiftly. His winning goal may have benefited from some good fortune but that was a reward for his purpose.

“It’s fantastic,” Koeman said. “The players showed incredible ambition.

“We don’t steal points, we play good football. Of course you need some luck but the spirit is unbelievable.”

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Florin Gardos clears the ball into Yoan Gouffran that deflects into the net

Of Elia, Koeman added: “I knew the player and I asked myself a lot of times what has happened, because he played in the World Cup final.”

After a bright opening from Newcastle, with players pressing and Moussa Sissoko rousing the crowd with bursts of pace, Southampton un-did their hosts in the 15th minute with their first attack of note.

Fonte played a 30-yard pass to Pelle whose chest guided the ball to Ward-Prowse, moving forward sharply. His quick pass fed Elia as he entered the Newcastle area. There was still work to be done but from a narrowing angle Elia beat Tim Krul, who will not review the goal happily.

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Yoan Gouffran celebrates his equaliser

It was all a bit too simple for Geordie comfort. Fonte then missed with a free header.

But from nowhere, near the half-hour, Newcastle hit back with goal of some luck. Ayoze Perez started it with a smart turn and pass but it was a combination of panicky Southampton defending and Yoan Gouffran’s willingness to run that saw the ball ricochet beyond Fraser Forster.

Undaunted, in the second half Southampton came again, Elia, bustling onto a Pelle flick and seeing his shot clip Daryl Janmaat’s shin to leave Krul flat-footed.

Paul Dummett could have equalised with an unmarked header, Pelle his the crossbar and the game ended with a strong Newcastle penalty claim, Massaido Haidara’s shot hitting Fonte’s outstretched arm.

But Southampton rode that. They go again.

Line-ups:

Newcastle United: (4-4-1-1) Krul; Janmaat, Coloccin, Dummett (Williamson, 80), Haidara; Cabella, Anita (Riviere, 68), Colback, Gouffran (Ameobi, 68); Sissoko; Perez.

Southampton: (4-3-2-1) Forster; Clyne, Fonte, Gardos, Bertrand; Ward-Prowse (Cork, 60), Reed, Davis; Tadic (Long, 60), Elia (Targett, 82), Pelle.

Referee: R Madley

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