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James Ward-Prowse moves clear of Messi as record-busting brace helps Southampton draw 2-2 with Brighton

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 16:18, 24 April 2022

James Ward-Prowse put in a spectacular showing as Southampton came from behind to draw with Brighton.

Graham Potter’s Seagulls took a 2-0 lead in the first-half but a quite brilliant brace from Ward-Prowse either side of half-time saw Southampton pull it back to 2-2 and secure themselves a point.

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The first goal was a stunning free-kick, full of all the usual Ward-Prowse whip and bend. It went through an extended wall where Southampton players provided useful bulwarks that dove out of the way to create the gap Ward-Prowse exploited.

That stunning strike made it 8 direct free-kicks scored since the start of last season which is more than any other team, nevermind player, from all of Europe’s top five leagues. The nearest players are Leo Messi, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Farid Boulaya with 4.

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Then with the second-half less than 10 minutes old, Oriol Romeu backheeled the ball into his path on the edge of the D and the Southampton skipper showed no hesitation and unleashed an absolute arrow of a shot that flew clean off his boot into the back of the net to draw Saints level at 2-2. It was a devastating strike that gave Robert Sánchez no chance in the Brighton goal.

The goal was Ward-Prowse’s 9th of the season, which is a personal-best for the Englishman. It also moved him onto five goals from outside the box this season, which is the most in the Premier League this season.

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All told Ward-Prowse scored twice from 5 shots, while also having the most touches (78), and completing a game-high 43/56 passes and chipping in one one tackle as well.

The result has denied Southampton the chance to move above Brighton and they remain in 13th on 40 points. However they are all but certain to be safe from relegation as they currently sit over 10 points clear of the drop zone.



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