- Berahino's 15th minute goal was cancelled out by Mane in the 87th minute as Southampton struggled
The opening day of the season - a day when hopes and dreams are aired for all to see, and a day when those hopes and dreams can be cruelly dashed. That certainly looked to be the fate of Southampton this evening, as they battled against a resilient West Brom side who had been buoyed by an early goal from in-demand striker Saido Berahino.
The 22-year old Englishman, who is being courted by Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, was the catalyst for West Brom, breaking through the Southampton defence several times in the first 10 minutes, as the defensive pairing of José Fonte and Virgil van Dijk struggled to deal with his movement. Maarten Stekelenburg was often seen red-faced, trying to marshal his defence, as West Brom surged forwards again and again, kept at bay only by several tremendous saves from the 33 year old.
But he could only hold them for so long. A whipped cross from Chris Brunt found Berahino unmarked, and alone in the penalty area, and the Striker made no mistake, volleying home from 10 yards to give his side the lead. From then on, West Brom were a side in the ascendancy, railing against a resolute Southampton defence, who managed (barely) to hold on for the remainder of the half.
The second half, Southampton came out the stronger team, pushing forwards against the West Brom defensive pairing of Olsson and Evans, who looked far from comfortable. In the centre of the park, a midfield duo of James Ward-Prowse and Harrison Reed were making things happen, and Reed in particular was impressive, cutting the West Brom defence open on several occasions; and left frustrated by his Striker's inability to finish the chances they were given.
The frustration was mirrored by the supporters who were doing all they could do rally their side. Juanmi limped off just after 50 minutes with a leg injury, followed closely by Dusan Tadic - they were replaced by Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez respectively, and Southampton's play cranked up another level with the introduction of some fresh legs.
As the game powered into the last 10 minutes, Southampton's positive play had West Brom pinned back, and a quick counter attack sparked by Reed's cross field pass to the onrushing Cédric earned a throw in. The Portuguese defender took it quickly, finding Wanyama, who laid an intelligent ball back to him behind the defence. The cross floated into the area, and nobody took ownership of it until Saido Mane rose from the pack of players to power a header into the bottom right corner of Myhill's net and draw his side level 3 minutes from time.
Full Time: Southampton 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
Saido Mane (87)
- Saido Berahino (15)
Man of the Match: Harrison Reed (Southampton)