Two-goal Edinson Cavani inspires Manchester United comeback win at Southampton

Uruguayan also set up Fernandes goal as United secure 3-2 victory at St Mary's

epa08850999 Edinson Cavani of Manchester United celebrates after scoring the 2-2 equalizer during the English Premier League soccer match between Southampton FC and Manchester United in Southampton, Britain, 29 November 2020.  EPA/Mike Hewitt / POOL EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer paid tribute to Edinson Cavani after the veteran striker inspired Manchester United's 3-2 comeback win away at Southampton.

The hosts led through a Jan Bednarek header and James Ward-Prowse's sublime free kick before Cavani was summoned from the bench at the start of the second half in place of Mason Greenwood.

Cavani's impact was almost immediate as he picked out Bruno Fernandes in space to score on the hour.

Cavani then put a header narrowly wide but as Southampton fell back deeper and deeper, the Uruguayan showed great reflexes to divert a Fernandes shot home for the equaliser.

United dominated the latter stages, and the 33-year-old Cavani struck again in stoppage time, stooping to head past Saints keeper Alex McCarthy.

Solskjaer praised Cavani's two-goal contribution - taking his tally to three since joining United as a free agent in October - which secured an eighth successive road win in the Premier League for United to move them up to seventh in the table with 16 points.

"It was top movement and his timing is fantastic," Solskjaer told Match of the Day. "His hunger to get on the end of things is the key for a centre-forward."

It was exactly the kind of influential display Solskjaer was hoping for from Cavani when he moved for him after United's failed pursuit of Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho.

Written off as a panic buy in some quarters, Cavani proved his age should be no barrier to making an impact in the Premier League.

He is only the second player to be directly involved in three goals in a Premier League game after coming on as a substitute for United since Solskjaer scored four against Nottingham Forest in 1999.

_____________________________

Player ratings

_____________________________

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl admitted the former Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain striker was the difference between victory and defeat for his side.

"He [Cavani] made the difference in the second half. He is good in the box and we know this. For 2-2, that is OK for us, but then we conceded a third goal. We played as good as we can today. We put everything in that is possible against such teams but we saw a fantastic side."

Southampton had looked in control after Bednarek headed in Ward-Prowse's corner in the 23rd minute before Ward-Prowse beat David de Gea 10 minutes later with a curling free kick.

De Gea clattered into the post trying to keep out Ward-Prowse's lethal effort and was replaced by Dean Henderson at half time.

"Hopefully it's not too bad," Solskjaer said of De Gea. "It's a knock on his knee - just above his knee - so we will see how it is."

EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS