Belfast Telegraph

Southampton v Middlesbrough - Story of the match

Sofiane Boufal's first Premier League goal was one to remember as his stunning 25-yard strike sealed Southampton a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.

Boufal joined Saints in a club-record deal worth £21million last summer and the Moroccan's moment of magic proved decisive at St Mary's in a game of few clear-cut chances.

Southampton's victory moves them up to 10th in the table while Middlesbrough remain 16th, after just one win in five.

TWEET OF THE MATCH

"Worth watching highlights of #SOUMID later, if only for the brilliant winner by Saints' record signing Sofiane Boufal" - Sky Sports commentator Gary Taphouse was impressed with Southampton's decisive goal.

STAR MAN

Sofiane Boufal - Southampton's club-record signing has taken time to settle after arriving injured from Lille in the summer but he appears to have found his feet. Boufal was his side's most potent threat here and it was no surprise his stunning 25-yard strike settled the match.

MOAN OF THE MATCH

What has happened to Jordan Rhodes? Signed by Middlesbrough for an initial £9million earlier this year, the striker has just not caught fire in the Premier League. This was Rhodes' second start this season and he did little to stake a claim for more opportunities in the future.

VIEW FROM THE BENCH

Southampton boss Claude Puel will be relieved to have ended a disappointing week with a hard-fought win. His side were certainly not spectacular but after defeat to Crystal Palace last weekend and crashing out of the Europa League on Thursday, this was a morale-boosting win. Middlesbrough again looked organised and resilient but Aitor Karanka simply must find a way of getting his side to score more goals.

RATINGS

Southampton

Fraser Forster 6 (out of 10)

Cuco Martina 7

Virgil van Dijk 8

Jose Fonte 7

Sam McQueen 7

Jordy Clasie 6

Oriol Romeu 6

James Ward-Prowse 5

Dusan Tadic 5

Jay Rodriguez 5

Sofiane Boufal 9

Substitutes

Nathan Redmond (for Tadic, 45) 7

Steven Davis (for Boufal, 73) 6

Shane Long (for Clasie, 85) 5

Middlesbrough

Victor Valdes 6

Antonio Barragan 5

Calum Chambers 6

Ben Gibson 6

Fabio 5

Marten de Roon 6

Adam Clayton 7

Adam Forshaw 7

Cristhian Stuani 7

Jordan Rhodes 5

Viktor Fischer 6

Substitutes

Adama Traore (for Stuani, 81) 6

WHO'S UP NEXT?

Stoke v Southampton (Premier League, December 14)

Middlesbrough v Liverpool (Premier League, December 14)

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