Brighton fans were still in the away end singing about their 98th-minute hero Neal Maupay by the time Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl appeared for his post-match press conference.
Usually there is around an hours’ wait before managers do their media duties, but the livid Southampton boss was straight in, and he pulled no punches in his furious post-match rant.
‘We cannot accept this,’ was the line he repeated a number of times. He was referring to his goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, who he took the rare step of publicly criticising and saying he lacked professionalism which cost Saints three points.
Neal Maupay scored a 98th minute equaliser as Brighton rescued a point at Southampton
The Frenchman had scored a spectacular overhead kick to salvage a draw midweek
Ralph Hasenhuttl was left feeling like his side had lost the game after the late concession
Armando Broja put Southampton ahead with a smart finish in the first half
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYERS RATINGS
SOUTHAMPTON (4-2-2-2): McCarthy 7.5; Livramento 7.5, Lyanco 7, Salisu 6, Walker-Peters 6.5; Romeu 7.5, Ward-Prowse 7; Redmond 6.5, Tella 6 (Elyounoussi 84); Adams 7, Broja 8 (A Armstrong 81).
Subs not used: Lewis, Stephens, Long, Perraud, Smallbone, Diallo, Walcott.
Goals: Broja (29)
Booked: Tella, Elyounoussi.
Manager: Ralph Hasenhuttl 8.
BRIGHTON (3-4-2-1): Sanchez 6; Veltman 6 (Moder 78), Duffy 5, Burn 5; Lamptey 5 (March 63, 6), Mwepu 6.5, Bissouma 7, Cucurella 7.5; Trossard 6.5, Gross 6 (Connolly 55, 6); Maupay 7.5.
Subs not used: Scherpen, Steele, Mac Allister, Locadia, Roberts, Richards.
Goals: Maupay (90+8)
Referee: Anthony Taylor 7.
They had played Brighton off the park for 97-and-a-half minutes, and led since the half-hour mark. Southampton were excellent and made the Seagulls look damningly poor. But as the minute on the clock neared triple figures, all their hard work was undone as Neal Maupay scored a poachers’ equaliser.
Hasenhuttl’s anger stemmed from the fact that after the match, goalkeeper McCarthy alerted him that he had pulled his hamstring early in the second half. McCarthy did not alert the bench, and he was visibly hampered when scampering across his goal to try to stop Maupay.
‘McCarthy couldn’t kick the ball anymore,’ said Hasenhuttl. ‘He doesn’t say anything, I can’t change him. This is why we have a reserve goalkeeper on the bench.
‘This is something we cannot accept.
There must be a message and then we can make a change. I still had one change in hand and I can change the goalkeeper if necessary. Alex must definitely be more professional.
‘We dominated for the whole game and we didn’t win, this is awful. This is definitely so hard to accept. It kills you. At the end they’re celebrating and it feels like a defeat.’
To put context to Hasenhuttl’s frustration, since the Austrian’s first match, Southampton have dropped 71 points from winning positions in the Premier League – at least 15 more than any other team.
It’s harder to take when noting the fact that Saints were by far the better team here. Armando Broja had put them ahead after a flurry of missed chances and then Southampton completely nullified Brighton’s passing game.
And for all the discussion this week about a tactical revolution at Manchester United under Ralf Rangnick, the clearest illustration of his so-called ‘gegenpress’ and its effectiveness was on display in this match, 180 miles south.
One of Rangnick’s disciples from their time with RB Leipzig, Hasenhuttl’s Southampton side are the Premier League’s pressing kings.
Time and time again in this match, Southampton’s intense game allowed them to nick the ball from Albion in dangerous areas and spring fast counter-attacks.
The Saints looked to have ended a three-match run without a win on Saturday
Until Maupay scored eight minutes into injury time as Southampton had to settle for a draw
Graham Potter’s men have now failed to win in their last 10 Premier League outings
The pattern was set early on and Brighton’s Robert Sanchez made two fine saves to twice deny Armando Broja, while Shane Duffy made a last-ditch tackle to thwart Nathan Tella.
It took Brighton nearly half an hour to settle but just as they grew in confidence on the ball, Saints set one of their pressing traps and – easy as one, two, three – they were in on goal.
Lyanco won the ball back and within a matter of seconds, Broja was bearing down on goal. Duffy charged towards the forward and flew into a tackle but Broja was too quick for him.
The Albania international, 20, born in Slough and on loan from Chelsea, did a Cruyff turn to fool Duffy, before slotting past Sanchez.
Words do not do justice to the composure, turn and finish from Broja but he should have had another in the second half, but couldn’t connect to Tino Livramento’s ball and pulled a shot wide.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton are without a Premier League win since November 5
The Saints squandered a series of chances to put the game to bed against Brighton
Brighton lost Leandro Trossard to what looked like an arm injury late in the game
The Belgian had to be stretchered off the pitch with his arm in a protective brace
It was the 77th minute before McCarthy made a save which was more than catching practice. Maupay found space and shot hard and low but one-cap once England goalkeeper McCarthy saved well. Clearly he was fit enough at this point.
Brighton’s attacking push was thwarted somewhat by a five-minute stoppage enforced as Leandro Trossard was wheeled off the pitch on a stretcher with his right arm in an orange, protective brace after a nasty fall. Boss Graham Potter later said: ‘I don’t think it’s as bad as we initially thought.’
That stoppage allowed for 10 minutes of injury time, and Brighton finally started to trouble Saints with a flurry of testing crosses.
Jakub Moder shot a free-kick into the wall and tried again with a shanked rebounded effort, but it fell to Maupay to score. He was so unmarked that he looked clearly offside, but James Ward-Prowse had darted to the goalline when the free-kick was taken, so played him onside.
It’s the second time this week that Maupay has snatched Brighton a last-minute point, after doing so on Wednesday at West Ham. It’s 10 winless matches for the Seagulls but this felt like a vital point.
‘We didn’t play well today,’ admitted Potter. ‘Southampton deserved to be 1-0 ahead. We were down to 10 men for 10 minutes (because of the Trossard injury) so it’s a great effort to come back.’