Bruja deservedly fires Saints to first Prem win of the season against Leeds

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Armando Broja helped Albania do what England could not do last week – and followed it up with their first Premier League goal.

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The 20-year-old came off the bench to score the winning goal on Saturday against Hungary, which held for one point three days later against Gareth Southgate’s men.

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Albanian hitman Armando Broja celebrates his crucial strike to reward the Saints’ attackcredit: getty
Armando Broza places a worthy winner in 53 minutes for Southampton

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Armando Broza places a worthy winner in 53 minutes for Southamptoncredit: getty

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttle said he saw the Chelsea loanee as “a good sub” despite his international exploits in his press conference before the clash.

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Yet the Austrian clearly reconsidered in the middle days as he made his Broja debut here and was rewarded with his first win of the season.

The big moment of the young man came in 53third Minutes as he finished a blistering counter-attack.

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It was a big three points for Hasenhutl who would have been really under pressure had his side not looked at injured Leeds.

Marcelo Bielsa’s team was without its three best players and as a result, looked a shadow of the side that entertained us all last season.

Calvin Phillips failed to recover from a calf problem, Patrick Bamford was sidelined and Rafinha did not feature after starring for Brazil in Manaus in the early hours of Friday morning.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Hasenhutl warned fans not to expect the football equivalent of a “five-star dinner,” even if he came dressed for one.

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The waistcoat and tie-clad owner of Southampton was right – the game was, for the most part, as delicious as a petrol station meal deal.

But no one who supported the home team at St. Mary’s would have cared, so they were hungry for a win in the Premier League.

His nine winless league games went back to last season.

And with goals at a premium following the sale of Danny Ings to Aston Villa, fans were beginning to worry that relegation this season was a real possibility.

The win won’t completely erase those worries, but it gives them momentum ahead of Burnley, Watford, Aston Villa and Norwich in their next four.

Hasenhuttl has been scratching his head to solve his scoring problem with the summer, with Adam Armstrong failing to find the net since Everton’s move away on the first day of the season.

Southampton centre-back Jan Bednarek is away from Leeds striker Rodrigo

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Southampton centre-back Jan Bednarek is away from Leeds striker Rodrigocredit: Reuters
Leeds torn between Tyler Roberts Ibrahima Diallo, left, and Mohamed Elinoussi

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Leeds torn between Tyler Roberts Ibrahima Diallo, left, and Mohamed Elinoussicredits: PA

He decided to bench the former Blackburn man here and after Che Adams was sidelined due to a muscle problem, he turned to Broza despite his words before the game.

The former Vitesse indebtedness placed himself well amid Leeds’ fragile backline and showed a promising partnership with Nathan Redmond.

A divisive figure among the Saints fanbase, Redmond had one of their better games and it was their corner that caused Broza to flick wide with 18 minutes to go.

Two minutes later, the same routine from 6ft3ins Broja flipped from the Redmond corner to the near post almost to the opener, but Mohamed Elinoussi somehow could not get home on the far stick.

Leeds offered little to advance but ironically one of their rare attacks was scored by Southampton.

The visitors had threatened through Jack Harrison and were building up confidence with Southampton’s entry into the box, but then suddenly Hasenhuttle’s men took hold and a brake was on.

Leeds always finished second against the Hungry Saints

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Leeds always finished second against the Hungry Saintscredits: PA

Moussa Genpo worked hard by sending Redmond Racing away and when the England man drew the defender, Broja was open.

Redmond squared it off to the slow-born striker, who fired a shot into the roof of the net before being taken out by Liam Cooper.

This left St Mary’s with a risk of injury but thankfully Broja was able to continue.

Bielsa had only one player to make his Premier League debut this season to turn on his bench – 19-year-old centre-back Charlie Cresswell – and so he had little choice but to stay.

Nearest darling Argentine side came to a level when Dan James ran but fired wide.

Thanks to Broja’s finish for a win, that would have gone down along with a Michelin-starred taster menu.

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