Bournemouth's hopes of Premier League survival were dealt a hammer blow on Sunday afternoon, as strikes from Danny Ings and Che Adams condemned the hosts to a 22nd league defeat in 2019/20.
An end-to-end first half saw both sides spurn good opportunities to take the lead, but it was the lethal right boot of Danny Ings which broke the deadlock as he bent in a low effort beyond Aaron Ramsdale to break the home side's spirit.
Danny Ings with his 21st goal this season. Golden Boot race is hotting up. ?pic.twitter.com/KilnxKi8PW— 90min (@90min_Football) July 19, 2020
Despite looking impressive throughout, it looked to get worse for Bournemouth after the break when Harry Wilson needlessly handled in the box. however, Ramsdale stood firm to comfortably save Ings' weak penalty.
Eddie Howe's side continued to press for a crucial equaliser, and they saw an injury time effort ruled out by VAR to cruelly deny the hosts a valuable point in their quest for survival.
To compound their misery, Che Adams struck in the ninth minute of stoppage time to seal the win in this South Coast derby.
Key Talking Point
In football we're always left to rue missed chances, moments of bad luck or squandered opportunities, but Bournemouth only have themselves to blame for finding themselves in the position they occupy. Which is why it must be infuriating to see them suddenly find balance in their play and actually start troubling opposition sides.
Having been deep in relegation mire for a most of the season, how they've decided to up their game and actually run around the pitch for this final stretch indicates a mentality issue above all else. Whether that is Eddie Howe not being able to motivate his players enough or a general lack of desire from the squad is irrelevant in the circumstances. They haven't done enough.
Survival looks beyond their reach, even if recent weeks have shown that there is enough quality within the side to more than remain in the division. They made chances against the Saints, but poor deliveries and a lack of cutting edge were their undoing. It looks very bleak now.
NO GOAL! A huge moment in the battle to avoid Premier League relegation ?— Goal (@goal) July 19, 2020
Bournemouth think they've scored an injury time equaliser, but the goal is ruled out for offside after a VAR review ?#BOUSOU pic.twitter.com/pu750u0MM6
Bournemouth Player Ratings
Starting XI: Ramsdale (7); Stacey (6), Cook (6), Kelly (7), Rico (6); Brooks (5), Billing (6), Lerma (7*), Stanislas (5); King (6), Wilson (6)
Substitutes: Wilson (5), Cook (6), Solanke (5) Surridge (5), Gosling (N/A)
It was the hosts who looked most in control for large periods of the match, with Jefferson Lerma's combative yet controlled presence in the heart of midfield key to that.
Someone who is just as capable looking like a classy player as he is a walking liability, Sunday's showing was, fortunately, a touch more of the former.
Key Talking Point
Ralph Hasenhuttl is starting to flex his managerial muscle down on the south coast. His influence on the style Southampton play has never been more evident. He's brought balance to side, with their more intricate passages of play being more akin to the approach he stamped on RB Leipzig ahead of making the switch to the Premier League.
On Sunday the game was played at a blistering tempo, but they were far off their usual standard and struggled to get a grips with the Cherries' desperate forays forward. Opting to push his full-backs high up the pitch to maintain their pressing game, they were caught out on a few occasions but survived each time.
It should have been more comfortable through Ings' penalty, but Ramsdale made a series of fine saves to keep the hosts in the game. The building blocks of a new-look Saints side are firmly in place now, with the prospect of fruitful top flight campaign next season reason for supporters to get excited.
Southampton Player Ratings
Starting XI: McCarthy (7); Walker-Peters (7), Stephens (6), Vestergaard (5), Bertrand (7); Armstrong (7), Ward-Prowse (7), Romeu (6), Redmond (6); Long (6), Ings (7*)
Substitutes: Adams (5), Hojbjerg (5), Obafemi (N/A)
The Danny Ings brigade clamouring to grant him a spot on the England plane for Euro 2020(1) is greater than ever, and perhaps has never been more justified.
He's clearly a confidence player, and he's got that by the shedload at the minute. There is conviction to everything he does (barring the poor penalty), be it coming short or having a pop, and as a number nine, he's the one running Harry Kane closest for a starting spot under Gareth Southgate.
Only Jamie Vardy (23) has scored more Premier League goals this season than Danny Ings (21); Ings has scored more non-penalty goals (21) than any other player in the competition.— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) July 19, 2020
In(gs)evitable. ??? pic.twitter.com/E6C6puUIb2
19 - Danny Ings has scored in 19 different @premierleague games this season, the most by any Southampton player in a single season in the competition, overtaking James Beattie's 18 in 2002-03. Consistency. pic.twitter.com/aUQqJNOti5— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 19, 2020
Continuing to get my head around the fact that there is an actor called Daniel Ings, who looks very much like Danny Ings (and actually played a footballer in The English Game) pic.twitter.com/W9nsXBAv8V— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) July 19, 2020
Bournemouth's final game of the season as an away trip to Everton on Sunday, where they will need to win and hope other results go their way. Southampton host Sheffield United on the same day and look set to finish the season in 11th.
Source : 90min