Stoke and Southampton play out stalemate to add to relegation pressure

Reuters , Saturday 3 Mar 2018

Stoke City
Soccer Football - Premier League - Southampton vs Stoke City - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - March 3, 2018 Stoke City's Bruno Martins Indi in action with Southampton's Josh Sims Reuters

Southampton were held to a 0-0 draw by Stoke City on Saturday with both teams missing opportunities to get crucial points as they fight for Premier League survival.

Stoke started the first half brightly but failed to create clear-cut chances, allowing Southampton back into the game as both teams struggled to make their mark in the final third.

Midfielder Badou Ndiaye missed the Potters' best chance of the half and Southampton were booed off the pitch at half time by their own supporters after mustering their first shot on target deep into added time.

"We looked threatening in the first half. In the second they came at us. Credit to the team, a few months ago we would have lost it. It was fantastic," Stoke manager Paul Lambert told the BBC.

"Look at the table and three points takes you to 13th I think. Momentum is with us. But a big credit to the team for that today."

Stoke striker Mame Diouf was helped off the pitch after sustaining a shoulder injury while fighting for a header with Southampton centre-back Wesley Hoedt midway through the first half.

Southampton were dominant in the second half and created numerous scoring opportunities, with midfielder Sofiane Boufal and winger Josh Sims among those to spurn their shots from inside the box.

Stoke's best effort in the second half saw veteran striker Peter Crouch flick on a pass to put Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting through on goal against Alex McCarthy but the Cameroonian fired over the bar.

The Saints piled on the pressure in the final 20 minutes but Stoke held on and decent saves from goalkeeper Jack Butland along with competent defending kept the home side at bay.

"I thought we did enough to get a result. Before the game we felt it was a must-win game but we are disappointed not to get the win. We feel we are good enough to get ourselves out and with one win we can move up two or three places," Sims told reporters.

The result means second-from-bottom Stoke could drift further away from safety as Swansea City beat West Ham United and Crystal Palace host Manchester United on Monday, while Southampton hover a point and a place above the bottom three

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