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Perraud hits stunning strike as Southampton see off West Ham

French full-back Perraud stylishly set Saints on course for victory with his first goal for the club.

Romain Perraud opens the scoring from range.
Romain Perraud opens the scoring from range.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

ROMAIN PERRAUD’S STUNNING first-half rocket lit up St Mary’s as Southampton marched into the FA Cup quarter-finals by dispatching Premier League rivals West Ham 3-1.

French full-back Perraud stylishly set Saints on course for victory with his first goal for the club, lashing home a swerving strike from more than 25 yards.

Michail Antonio briefly levelled for the Hammers but James Ward-Prowse’s penalty – awarded following VAR intervention – and a late Armando Broja goal sent the hosts through.

Ward-Prowse coolly converted from 12 yards with just over 20 minutes remaining after Craig Dawson was adjudged to have brought down substitute Broja as he bore down on goal.

David Moyes’ high-flying Hammers had little answer to falling behind for the second time and now have the remainder of the campaign to focus on chasing Europa League glory and Champions League qualification.

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl sprung a major surprise by making nine changes for the tie.

But the Austrian’s decisions were vindicated as the south-coast club – semi-finalists in 2018 and 2021 – impressively progressed to the last eight of the competition for the third time in five seasons.

Hasenhuttl admitted ahead of the game that he has been struggling to focus on his job since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, referring to football as “ridiculous” in comparison.

Players from both clubs have been directly affected, with West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko given time off due to the crisis in his homeland and the sister of injured Saints defender Lyanco among those forced to flee the conflict.

Yellow and blue lights – the colours of the Ukrainian flag – illuminated the stadium ahead of kick-off, accompanied by applause from around the ground.

Despite his in-form side sitting comfortably in mid-table, Hasenhuttl significantly rotated his squad, prompting some home fans to originally feel a little underwhelmed.

Only captain Ward-Prowse and right-back Kyle Walker-Peters were retained from Friday’s win over Norwich, while Hammers boss Moyes opted for just two alterations, bringing in goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and defender Issa Diop.

Saints’ makeshift line-up acquitted themselves well during a relatively even first half in which the away team were initially more dangerous.

Forward Jarrod Bowen was a regular menace but West Ham – backed by 4,800 travelling fans – lacked a clinical edge, epitomised by the unmarked Tomas Soucek scuffing wide early on.

And they were stunned by a long-range thunderbolt just after the half-hour mark.

Former Brest player Perraud collected a cross-field pass from fellow full-back Walker-Peters before stepping forward to unleash a dipping, left-footed drive which flew beyond diving compatriot Areola and into the right corner.

The eye-catching goal was Saints’ first attempt on target and they would surely have doubled their lead before the break had Adam Armstrong supplied better service to the unmarked Will Smallbone.

Seeking to strengthen his side’s grip on the game, Hasenhuttl brought on energetic midfielder Stuart Armstrong and top scorer Broja for the second period.

West Ham’s fluency was further disrupted by bloodied midfielder Soucek being forced off by a head injury after being caught by the arm of Ibrahima Diallo.

But they levelled with half an hour to go.

Home goalkeeper Willy Caballero made a mess of an inswinging Bowen corner and Diop helped the ball across goal for one-time Saints loanee Antonio – who was sent off in the league game here in September – to poke in from just a couple of yards.

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Moyes responded to the leveller with a clinched fist.

Yet parity did not last long. Jack Stephens’ hopeful punt forward sent Broja racing towards Areola’s goal but, as he went to pull the trigger, he was upended by Dawson.

Match official Marriner originally played on before pointing to the spot having watched a replay on the advice of VAR Simon Hooper.

England international Ward-Prowse subsequently whipped his seventh goal of the season down the middle, with the celebrations marred by five fans running on the pitch.

Dawson almost atoned for his earlier error but his late header was repelled by Caballero as West Ham tried to force extra-time.

Southampton were given an additional seven minutes to survive and, with that period almost up, Chelsea loanee Broja burst into the box and beat Kurt Zouma before rolling home to put the result beyond doubt.

Comedian Michael Fry is our special guest on this week’s episode of The Front Row, in partnership with Guinness. Joining host Seán Burke, Eimear Considine and Murray Kinsella, he chats about his family’s rugby background and his short-lived playing days, before using his musical ear to rank the anthems of each Guinness Six Nations team. Click here to subscribe or listen below:

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