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Super sub Cavani heads off Saints with stunning double

34-year-old rolls back the years with assist and two headed goals for a late comeback win

SUPER sub Edinson Cavani used his head to inspire Man United to a stunning 3-2 comeback against Southampton on Sunday.

Jan Bednarek’s header and a fine James Ward-Prowse free-kick had Saints dreaming of a first home league win against the Red Devils since 2003.

But Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men squandered their two-goal lead as half-time introduction Cavani turned the match on its head, setting up Bruno Fernandes before netting a brace of headers to secure a sensational late triumph.

It was the 10th time that United had come from behind to beat Southampton in Premier League history — a victory that propelled them up the standings and continued their 100 per cent start to life on the road.

“He is a centre-forward who thrives on crosses,” United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said of Cavani after the match. “He knows where the ball lands and has made a difference.

“I thought we were excellent all day long. I thought we played some fantastic football, created chances — must have had five or six clear-cut opportunities.

“And they have Ward-Prowse. You can’t stop him, you hope you don’t give set-plays away because he has got that quality.” 

Few could have foreseen the outcome when Ward-Prowse superbly beat David De Gea shortly after sending in a smart corner for Bednarek to open the scoring at an empty St Mary’s.

Saints had been unsettled by the visitors’ confident start and were breathing an early sigh of relief as a muddle at the back allowed returning Mason Greenwood to beat Alex McCarthy but hit the side netting.

The momentum turned in the 23rd minute when Ward-Prowse fired an inswinging corner to the near post, where Bednarek had wriggled away from Rashford and glanced a header home from close range.

Hasenhuttl’s side were on top, but McCarthy almost threw away that building momentum by inexplicably passing straight into the path of Greenwood — saving the teenager’s attempt to capitalise, then superbly spreading himself to stop Fernandes’s follow-up.

That let-off allowed Saints to land another gut punch. Fred’s foul on Moussa Djenepo gave Ward-Prowse a tantalisingly-placed free-kick that was duly dispatched, with De Gea just unable to prevent the curling right-footed effort from finding the top corner.

But United’s building pressure in the second half would tell as Cavani lifted the ball across to Fernandes, who struck low past McCarthy after taking a touch.

Cavani was proving a handful, and duly levelled proceedings in the 74th minute as he headed a deflected Fernandes shot home.

And just as it looked like Saints had held out, United dug deep to break the hosts’ hearts in stoppage time. Cavani peeled away to meet a Rashford cross and beat McCarthy for a famous win.

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl said after the whistle: “I think the subs made a difference today. Cavani was hard to defend [against].

“In the end it wasn’t enough for a point. I don’t know if we deserved one … We were a little bit unlucky today but I don’t want to see heads down because I’ve seen a team that was amazing with the ball and against the ball for a long time.”

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