Nathan Redmond scored a brace and assisted another as Southampton booked their FA Cup semi-final berth for the second time in four seasons, easing past Jonathan Woodgate’s Bournemouth. Supposed to be a welcome distraction from Championship rigours, the gulf in quality was clear – it would’ve been worse for the Cherries, had VAR not disallowed two goals.
Bournemouth 0-3 So’ton: Saints cruise to comfortable cup win
Djenepo 37′, Redmond 45+1′, 59′
Tottenham loanee Cameron Carter-Vickers couldn’t hide his smurk as the Southampton opener – an own goal – was chalked off after 12 minutes for a marginal offside after VAR review.
A slow-burning fixture with individual quality sprinkled across the pitch but lacking the cohesion and composure in the final third, Jan Bednarek’s long ball amplified Kyle Walker-Peters’ surging run forward down the right but the reprieve was a warning that Bournemouth didn’t heed.
Stuart Armstrong left Ben Pearson in his wake before cutting the ball back for an overlapping Ryan Bertrand, who ultimately skewed wide.
Arnaut Danjuma tested Fraser Forster from a narrow angle, while Dominic Solanke became increasingly frustrated feeding off limp service and having to fashion his own half-chances.
Bournemouth were starting to show signs of life, as winger Rodrigo Riquelme had a snapshot flash past the post – then combined well with Solanke before giving Forster a straightforward stop to make later. However, Walker-Peters was key again as Southampton broke the deadlock.
Redmond unlocks the door as cherries defence left wanting
He supplied Redmond, free in space and with time on his side, who accelerated forward unchallenged past a backpedalling Bournemouth backline and made them pay.
Moussa Djenepo, who hadn’t scored a goal since October 4, showed expert movement and anticipation to catch fullback Jack Stacey slipping – literally – before calmly slotting into the bottom corner after Redmond’s incisive through ball.
Having already got the better of Carter-Vickers, Redmond left Steve Cook in his wake as Bournemouth’s defence were nowhere to be found in stoppage-time from a seemingly innocuous throw-in near the halfway line.
Redmond doubled Southampton’s lead, deftly lifting his effort over Asmir Begovic with aplomb into the roof of the net.
Ten minutes into the second-half, strike partner Che Adams had a goal disallowed after VAR review, before Redmond was rewarded for being in the right place to slot home a rebound and put the game beyond reasonable doubt.
Armstrong’s effort cannoned off the post after Stacey relinquished possession cheaply in his own half, with the 27-year-old on hand to fire low into the opposite corner. You couldn’t help but sympathise with Begovic, who berated his defenders for failing to get tighter out of possession as Armstrong and matchwinner Redmond both went close in quick succession shortly afterwards.
Forster made smart saves to deny Danjuma and substitute Sam Surridge, with the latter being booked in stoppage-time for a needlessly dangerous foul on fellow substitute Mohammed Salisu, after the £10m summer signing had already played the ball forward. It rather typified a frustrating afternoon for the hosts, who were thoroughly outplayed and looked lost defensively.
Usually the Premier League gulf in class phrase is an overused cliche but it felt fair to adopt here, something Woodgate must use as fuel for his players if they’re to achieve their season ambitions.
The weekend’s other FA Cup quarter-finals, are as follows (BST time):
Everton vs Manchester City (17:30)
Chelsea vs Sheffield United (13:30)
Leicester City vs Manchester United (17:00)
An international break awaits, with 14th-placed Southampton back in Premier League action on April 4 at home against Burnley – alongside them on the same points (33) through 29 games.
Bournemouth, entertain fellow promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough two days earlier hoping to improve an unpredictable run that includes dropped points vs. Preston and Barnsley this month.
Pictures source: Getty