‘Triple somersault and a backward flip. Wow, wow, incredible’: Newcastle winger Allan Saint-Maximin dismisses injury concerns with acrobatic goal celebration at Southampton
- Saint-Maximin was dropped to the bench due to hamstring and back problems
- Newcastle winger insisted he is fine physically and was unhappy at being left out
- He marked scoring the winner at Southampton with an acrobatic celebration
Having already spent most of the game twisting and turning this way and that to torment his full back, the burst of pace from Allan Saint-Maximin to turn a lost cause into the match winner was not that of a man struggling with hamstring and back problems.
Neither was the spectacular acrobatic celebration that followed his late goal, which fired Newcastle to the brink of safety at 10-man Southampton.
‘Triple somersault and a backward flip wasn’t it? Wow, wow, wow, incredible,’ his manager Steve Bruce said, puffing out his cheeks.
Allan Saint-Maximin’s spectacular acrobatic celebration that followed his late winner
Bruce was at pains to insist his winger was an injury concern for the previous weekend’s game against Burnley, when he was dropped to the bench, and, in particular, the hamstring problems he has suffered twice this season remain in the back of his mind.
He also argued that Saint-Maximin’s return since his omission — two assists at West Bromwich in the FA Cup and a goal at Southampton — vindicated his controversial decision.
As welcome as Saint-Maximin’s winner was, in an ideal world Bruce might have preferred if it had not come the way it did and was not followed by such a celebration.
Steve Bruce argued that Saint-Maximin’s return since his omission vindicated his decision
SOUTHAMPTON (4-2-2-2): McCarthy 9; Valery 5.5, Bednarek 7, Stephens 7, Bertrand 7; Boufal 6.5 (Obafemi 85min), Ward-Prowse 6, Hojbjerg 6, Djenepo 5; Long 7 (Adams 77) Ings 6.5.
Subs not used: Gunn, Vestergaard, Romeu, Walker-Peters, Danso. Sent off: Djenepo. Manager: Ralph Hasenhuttl 6.
NEWCASTLE (4-2-3-1): Dubravka 6; Manquillo 7 (Lazaro 72, 6), Lascelles 7, Fernandez 7, Rose 7; Hayden 6 (Longstaff 79), Shelvey 7; Ritchie 6 (Joelinton 61, 6), Almiron 6.5, Saint-Maximin 8; Gayle 6.5.
Subs not used: Darlow, Schar, Yedlin, Bentaleb. Scorer: Saint-Maximin 79.
Booked: Manquillo, Ritchie, Joelinton.
Manager: Steve Bruce 7.5.
Referee: Graham Scott 7. Attendance: 30,096.
He could probably also have done without Saint-Maximin going off message by confirming he is fine physically and was unhappy at being left out against Burnley — as reported by Sportsmail last week.
‘I feel good, my body feels good,’ he told the Shields Gazette.
‘I have been running a lot and trying to help my team. I stay on the bench against Burnley, and after, it’s normal, when you don’t play, you cannot be happy.
‘Now I give a win to my team. I’m really happy because my partner worked a lot to give me a lot of balls. I’m really happy to give this goal to my team and to the supporters.’
Saint-Maximin displayed the quality and composure his team-mates had been lacking to find a way past Southampton at St Mary’s.
Despite playing against 10 men since the 28th minute following Moussa Djenepo’s VAR-assisted dismissal, Newcastle had to wait until the 79th before scoring their first league goal in five games.
Saint-Maximin broke the stubborn resistance of 10-man Southampton in the 79th minute
Southampton keeper Alex McCarthy was a big reason why it look them that long, with a stunning early triple save and a penalty stop from Matt Ritchie among his highlights.
McCarthy’s heroics came a week after a blunder from the one-cap England goalkeeper led to a goal as West Ham beat them 3-1.
Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl was asked whether England boss Gareth Southgate should consider McCarthy for Euro 2020. ‘He had some very good games this season and, like everyone in the team, some games where he wasn’t so consistent,’ said Hasenhuttl. ‘But if he plays like this every week, then yes.’
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