Russell Martin proud but frustrated as Southampton held by Norwich

By Sports Desk January 01, 2024

Russell Martin was left to reflect on what might have been as his Southampton side had to be content with a 1-1 draw in their Championship clash against Norwich at Carrow Road.

The point stretched the Saints’ unbeaten run to 18 matches but with 75 per cent of possession, they were left frustrated after the match as Canaries substitute Josh Sargent’s late goal ensured honours ended even.

“I am really proud of our performance today, even though we have only taken a point,” said Saints boss Martin. “We should certainly have won the game, I don’t think anyone would argue with that. I thought we played really well, there was a good flow to our play. I certainly enjoyed watching my team out there.

“We controlled the game, we played it around really well and I thought our goal was a really good move. We created other good chances and it was frustrating that we didn’t make the most of them. When we did get some on target, Angus Gunn make some good saves.

“I was surprised with the way Norwich set up if I am being honest. This is as quiet as I have known this place and I have played plenty of games here so feel frustrated, but at the same time very proud of the players.”

Martin is sweating on the fitness of Samuel Edozie, who was substituted midway through the first half after being caught late by Jack Stacey.

“That was a naughty challenge, a red card challenge in my opinion,” he said. “If we had had VAR here I think he would have gone, but having said that you never really know with VAR, do you?”

Southampton dominated the match for long periods but had to wait until the 70th minute to get their noses in front.

The excellent Kyle Walker-Peters was the architect as he made it to the byline before delivering a low cross which deflected off Grant Hanley into the path of Adam Armstrong, who had the simple task of volleying home from close range.

The goal was no more than the Saints deserved and they looked well set to take all three points – but Norwich had other ideas and got themselves back on level terms from a rare attack eight minutes later.

A fine move through the middle involving Gabriel Sara and Jon Rowe ended with Sargent slipping the ball past Gavin Bazunu.

It was a sweet moment for the American, who had only been on the pitch for 12 minutes and was playing at Carrow Road for the first time since picking up a nasty ankle injury in August.

“It gives everyone here a big boost to see Josh back on the pitch, he’s a top quality player and a good character too,” said Norwich head coach David Wagner. “He hasn’t had much training but he was ready to come on and showed his quality with a good run and an excellent finish.

“I think it was a solid point for us, a deserved point. I thought it was an excellent defensive performance and we also threatened in transitions.

“We decided to go into this game with a 5-4-1 formation because we thought that was the right approach given the quality of the opposition and the form they have been in.

“We knew that would mean less possession for us but we have taken a point from the game and could even have taken all three, so in the end it was a good decision.”

Related items

  • Ukraine full of spirit heading into Euro 2024 campaign Ukraine full of spirit heading into Euro 2024 campaign

    Serhiy Rebrov believes his team will display "the spirit of Ukraine" in their Euro 2024 opener against Romania on Monday.

    Ukraine qualified for the tournament in Germany, with that success coming against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of the nation, which began in February 2022.

    Ukraine reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2020, eventually going down to England, and they could be a team to keep a close eye on.

    Coach Rebrov is confident his team will take plenty of spirit into the competition, telling reporters: "All the players, me personally, are getting lots of messages from our fighters, from our soldiers, from our friends who are now fighting for the freedom of Ukraine.

    "I am sure they are very proud of us, we are very proud of them. They are telling [us], when you are here 'show the spirit of Ukraine'. This tournament is really about the spirit of our country.

    "It is very good and very important for Ukraine to be in this forum.

    "Because all Ukrainians want to be a European nation. Of course now in our country, football is not in first place. There are lots of people dead, lots of kids dead. Now is a very difficult time for Ukraine."

    Rebrov is managing at his first major international tournament. The former Tottenham striker did not appear for his country at the Euros, but did play four games at the 2006 World Cup, scoring in a 4-0 win over Saudi Arabia.

    Defender Ilya Zabarnyi added: "For me it is a great honour to represent Ukraine. You know what times we are going through now. I feel incredible responsibility for my actions but I'm not worried about my game.

    "We understand where we are and what we need to do. It is football and we need to play with a cold head."

    Belgium and Slovakia are the other teams Ukraine are set to contend with in Group E.

    Ukraine have failed to score in six of their nine group stage games at the Euros, scoring exactly two goals in each of the other three – 2-1 wins over Sweden (2012) and North Macedonia (2020), and a 2-3 loss to Netherlands in 2020.

  • Slovenia 1-1 Denmark: Janza salvages share of the spoils in Group C opener Slovenia 1-1 Denmark: Janza salvages share of the spoils in Group C opener

    Erik Janza's strike saw Slovenia hit back against Denmark to secure a 1-1 draw in the opening Group C game at Euro 2024.

    Janza hammered home via a deflection in the 77th minute to restore parity, cancelling out Christian Eriksen's well-taken opener.

    Slovenia's equaliser came moments after Benjamin Sesko, who is reportedly catching the eye of some of Europe's biggest clubs, had struck the woodwork with a fierce long-range attempt.

    That was one of just two shots Sesko managed all game, with Denmark having largely managed to keep the striker under wraps.

    The Danes were fantastic all-round in the first half, with Eriksen pulling the strings in midfield and brilliantly putting them ahead when he latched onto Jonas Wind's deft touch in the 17th minute.

    Yet Slovenia's pressure finally told after a series of missed opportunities, with the sides sharing the spoils at Stuttgart Arena.

    Data Debrief: Eriksen takes a Euros record

    Eriksen is the third-oldest player to ever score for Denmark at a major tournament, and the oldest to do so at the Euros.

    The 32-year-old midfielder was involved in seven of Denmark's eight shots in the opening half, though could not wield the same influence after the break.

  • Rebrov: Ukraine will show spirit at Euro 2024 Rebrov: Ukraine will show spirit at Euro 2024

    Serhiy Rebrov believes his nation will display "the spirit of Ukraine" in their Euro 2024 opener against Romania on Monday.

    Ukraine qualified for the tournament in Germany despite being invaded by Russia, beating Iceland in a play-off to secure their spot in Germany.

    Ukraine reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 and are looking to do better this time around.

    Rebrov believes his team will take spirit into the competition, telling reporters: "All the players, me personally, are getting lots of messages from our fighters, from our soldiers, from our friends who are now fighting for the freedom of Ukraine.

    "I am sure they are very proud of us, we are very proud of them. They are telling [us], when you are here 'show the spirit of Ukraine. This tournament is really about the spirit of our country."

    Ukraine have now qualified for four European Championships in a row, and Rebrov hold hopes his team can improve on their quarter-final exit at Euro 2020.

    "It is very good and very important for Ukraine to be in this forum," Rebrov said.

    "Because all Ukrainians want to be a European nation. Of course now in our country, football is not in first place. There are lots of people dead, lots of kids dead. Now is a very difficult time for Ukraine."

    Defender Iliya Zabarni is proud to represent his nation on the international stage,

    "For me it is a great honour to represent Ukraine," Zabarni said. "You know what times we are going through now. I feel incredible responsibility for my actions but I'm not worried about my game.

    "We understand where we are and what we need to do. It is football and we need to play with a cold head."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.