mai 27, 2024

Leeds 0 – 1 So’ton

5 min read

Southampton returned to the Premier League at the first time of asking after beating Leeds United 1-0 at Wembley.

Adam Armstrong’s first-half goal proved to be the difference in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final on Sunday.

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Southampton lift the Championship play-off trophy after beating Leeds 1-0 in the play-off final to see themselves promoted to the Premier League.

Last time they were relegated from the top flight in 2005 it took seven years to return, but this time they got the job done far more efficiently under Russell Martin.

Leeds, meanwhile, will have to battle it out in the second tier for another season.

How Saints marched to victory at Wembley

It was Southampton who took the lead on 24 minutes at Wembley.

A smart pass from Will Smallbone slid Armstrong into the box, and he drilled a low shot past Illan Meslier – his fourth goal in three against Leeds this season.

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Adam Armstrong gives Southampton a 1-0 lead over Leeds at Wembley in the EFL play-off final

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Daniel James hits the crossbar late on for Leeds as they search for an equaliser!

Daniel Farke rang the changes throughout the second half to try and drag his side back into it, and one of his substitutes, Dan James, came so close to the equaliser on 84 minutes as he crashed a shot onto the underside of the crossbar before it bounced clear.

But there would be no equaliser as Saints marched back to the Premier League, and Leeds were condemned to a sixth defeat in six play-off attempts.

Martin: I feel I’ve validated brave decision to appoint me

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Southampton manager Russell Martin says earning promotion to the Premier League justifies the decision to appoint him – even if it wasn’t an exciting appointment!

Southampton boss Russell Martin told Sky Sports:

« I feel emotional and overwhelmed by the love and support I’ve had over the past nine or 10 months especially in the tougher times.

« The support from the board, I had to validate their decision and justify being handed the chance.

« I’m so pleased for them because it wasn’t an exciting appointment. I’d finish 10th with Swansea, had a very clear way of doing things at MK Dons so for them to take me on was really brave.

« The team have been so brave and I’m grateful and proud of them.

« I did enjoy some of it. I enjoyed watching the players grow and I absolutely love that group of players. What we’ve asked them to do is not easy. »

On how it feels to be a Premier League manager: « I could get sacked tomorrow so maybe not! »

McCarthy: Martin has completely changed the club

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Alex McCarthy talks through his unexpected return to the Southampton starting line-up, and how ecstatic the club is to be back in the Premier League.

Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to Sky Sports:

« It’s been a tough season, lots of ups and downs, but we’ve got back to where we want to be. It’s crazy in football, things turn around very quickly.

« It’s one of those where you don’t have time to think about it so when I got in the team, I wanted to show what I could do.

« We knew it would be a tough game, but we thought we had the upper hand after beating Leeds twice this season. To get over the line at the end was unbelievable.

« Since Russ has come in, he’s completely changed the place. It was so flat after last season, the changing room was all over the place, but he’s built something special. »

The final in numbers

Southampton bounce back after challenging campaign

Sky Sports’ EFL Editor Simeon Gholam:

« It took seven years for Southampton to bounce back from Premier League relegation last time, even dipping into League One at one point, so to get there at the first time of asking will be of huge relief to the Saints faithful.

« Russell Martin has had his critics this season, but it often gets forgotten that Southampton were relegated pretty dismally last year, so to turn around the mentality of the club to collect 87 points – which would have been more than enough for automatic promotion in another campaign – is a job well done.

« Now they can spend a summer trying to add to what they have, rather than experience another firesale of their best talent. Martin’s philosophy is in place, and it will be fascinating to see what they can do in the top flight next season. »

Farke: We must use disappointment as motivation

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Daniel Farke explains his disappointment at his Leeds side’s loss in the Championship play-off final against Southampton.

Leeds boss Daniel Farke told Sky Sports:

« It’s football. In a final, only one team can win so they were able to be effective today and defended really well during the whole game.

« We had more possession, more shots, more expected goals but they defended us really well. We have to congratulate them and wish them all the best in the Premier League next season.

« We started the game on the front foot and had many good situations in the final third but we weren’t always precise with our passing.

« At this level, when you switch off once you get punished. Armstrong was very effective. We tried everything in the second half with James’ shot hitting the crossbar. Sometimes, it’s not meant to be.

« It was a difficult day for us and a day of suffering but that’s football. You have to get on with it, rest and use the disappointment as motivation for next season. »

What’s next?

Southampton will return to play in the Premier League for the 2024/25 season, while Leeds will remain in the Sky Bet Championship for another year.

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