Southampton left to lament double VAR blow in Fulham stalemate

Southampton had two goals disallowed by VAR as they were held to a goalless draw at Fulham.

Shane Long and Theo Walcott both looked to have broken the deadlock for the visitors in the second half, only to have their efforts ruled out for offside on review as Saints slipped to eighth in the table.

The Cottagers played out their fourth consecutive draw and did so in the absence of their manager Scott Parker, who remains in self-isolation after a member of his household tested positive for coronavirus.

There were just three shots on target during the game, with possession also evenly shared between the sides.

Southampton had previously gone on a seven-match unbeaten run earlier in the season, during which they briefly topped the table, but the result sees them drop out of the European places.

Fulham started the game brightly, with Alex McCarthy having to gather a heavily deflected effort from Ademola Lookman inside the opening 10 minutes.

The home side felt they should have had a penalty after a ball from Lookman was flicked onto Jan Bednarek’s arm, which was close to his body, but referee Darren England allowed the game to continue and VAR affirmed the referee’s decision on review.

Despite struggling to make an impact early on, James Ward-Prowse almost gave Southampton the lead in typical fashion, with his 25-yard free-kick rebounding off the woodwork before Che Adams missed the rebound.

In the second half, Southampton looked to dominate possession, building on their performance towards the end of the opening 45 minutes, but it was Fulham who came closest to breaking the deadlock.

Ivan Cavaleiro rose to meet an Antonee Robinson cross, but he was unable to control his header, which looped over the bar.

Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola was forced into only his second save of the game in the 68th minute, tipping Long’s well-hit rising drive over the bar.

Lookman then had a shot deflected wide when the game was pulled back for a VAR review on a potential Southampton penalty after a possible Ola Aina handball. Following a lengthy VAR check, the game was allowed to continue.

Southampton appeared to have taken the lead when they had the ball in the back of the net after Ryan Bertrand’s cross found Long and he slotted the ball past the goalkeeper, but the striker was found to be offside.

Walcott then suffered the same fate after he appeared to have netted a late winner from an Adams cross, with the latter deemed to be in an offside position when he made the run in behind.

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