A special finish for a special game

Posted by Chris Rann

If you look up "pessimism" in the Oxford English dictionary, the definition is 'a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen.' This was very much the feeling around St Mary's before Saturday's 1-1 draw with Manchester City. As the result suggests, that pessimism was unfounded, and many might argue Saints could and perhaps should have won the game.

Manchester City, as a team with the talent they possess, could be expected to and did have chances to win, too. But other than their early opener, they didn't have an easy time against Saints' back four.

-Brasell: Saints surge back
-Curtis: Point gained for City
-Waynama has hairline fracture

Saints outpossessed the masters of possession and were in control for large periods, pressuring the City back line and carving out chances. But if you are going to peg a team such as City back after going behind, it is going to take a moment of real quality.

Enter Dani Osvaldo. Everyone will be talking about the final moments of the Saints equaliser, but this was a goal made by the team.

It started with a perfectly timed Jose Fonte tackle in the Saints box on Sergio Aguero -- Fonte played it to Luke Shaw, who played an inch-perfect looped ball to Adam Lallana in the centre circle. Lallana headed it down to Steven Davis, who knocked the ball over the head of Vincent Kompany for Osvaldo to run on to.

Osvaldo used his quick feet to tie Kompany in knots before turning on to his right foot and curling a beautiful finish into the top right corner over City keeper Costel Pantilimon. It was a truly superb goal, and really the sort that deserved to win a game, not just level it.

It epitomised the team ethic Saints displayed Saturday -- desperate to get back on track after three straight defeats. It was difficult to pick out a star performer in red as the whole team did their job and did it well. Jack Cork deputised for Victor Wanyama and looked as if he had never been away, running the midfield alongside the ever-overlooked-for-praise Davis. Calum Chambers came in for Nathaniel Clyne and showed he too is a perfectly capable option at right back in a performance that kept Samir Nasri extremely quiet and even saw him get on the end of a Shaw cross and almost open his Saints scoring account.

It was a very satisfying day to be a Saints fan. It was only a draw, but because of the pre-match accepting of a humbling it felt like a win. Saints fans aren't used to having a squad that can compete so well even with a list of injuries. I don't mind admitting I was guilty of accepting Saints' fate, too.

I usually end these blogs by saying 'keep the faith' -- perhaps I should start taking my own advice.


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