Erik ten Hag could not believe what he was watching in the 20th minute during Manchester United’s match against Southampton on Saturday afternoon
Anthony Elanga, Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes had each been prevented from scoring in quick succession.
Southampton somehow prevented a goal from that sequence of shots and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s defenders felt as if they had scored at the other end.
United should have scored and Ten Hag was left standing in disbelief on the touchline. Diogo Dalot was the catalyst for those openings after roaming down the right channel from right-back and that was clearly an area in which he was finding joy.
Dalot provided more quality in the final third than Anthony Elanga did and he was also outperforming his teammates on the other side.
Malacia didn’t stand out going forward and Jadon Sancho was easily dealt with by 20-year-old Armel Bella-Kotchap.
was Dalot’s cross that Fernandes should have scored from in the 20th minute and that would have given him his first assist of the season.
That obviously didn’t happen but he would only have had to wait until the second half to get off the mark with an assist.
was the only moment of real quality in an otherwise difficult watch for the neutral, albeit Fernandes’ strike was a goal worthy of winning any game.
Dalot had continued to provide United with another dimension down the right wing and his persistence was eventually rewarded after half-time.
Dalot had the vision to spot Fernandes’ run on the edge of the box and the midfielder volleyed his side into the lead with an expertly taken, world-class finish. Dalot punched the air in celebration and Fernandes pointed at him to express thanks.