LONDON (AFP) – Southampton’s dismal season hit a new low as the Premier League strugglers were dumped out of the FA Cup by second tier Derby County after a penalty shoot-out early yesterday.
In a third round replay heavily influenced by the latest controversy over the use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR), Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side blew a two-goal lead in the closing stages at St Mary’s.
The tie finished 2-2 after extra-time, with Derby winning 5-3 on penalties.
“There were great penalties in the end and great courage. I’m really proud of them,” Derby manager Frank Lampard said.
“That takes a lot to come back against Premier League opposition and show the fight and bravery on the ball. I thought we were outstanding in the game.”
Having avoided falling behind when VAR dubiously ruled out a goal from Derby’s Craig Bryson in the first half, Saints went ahead through Stuart Armstrong’s 68th minute header.
Nathan Redmond doubled their lead with a cool finish two minutes later.
Both Southampton goals were also referred to VAR, but the drama with the video assistant wasn’t over.
Derby got one back with 14 minutes left when Harry Wilson’s free-kick went straight in and was allowed to stand by VAR despite Southampton’s claims that several Rams players were offside.
Just six minutes later, Martyn Waghorn headed Derby’s equaliser from Wilson’s superb cross to force extra-time.
Just as they had in the original match at Pride Park, Derby had battled back from 2-0 down.
And Lampard’s Championship promotion chasers, who knocked Manchester United out of the League Cup earlier this season, claimed another top-flight scalp in the shoot-out.
Redmond was the only player to miss on either team, firing wide before Derby captain Richard Keogh netted the winning kick.