Yoshida scores winner as Southampton downs West Ham

Kyodo

Japan defender Maya Yoshida scored in Southampton’s 1-0 win over West Ham on Saturday, striking his first Premier League goal of the season as the 10-man Saints held on for the points.

Yoshida, playing for the first time in five games, ran onto a ball off Victor Wanyama in the ninth minute to sweep home from six meters following a corner. Wanyama was sent off eight minutes after the break with a rash challenge on Dimitri Payet, but the home side held firm.

“It’s always good to have a goal in front of the Saints supporters,” Yoshida told Southampton’s website. “I’ve been a long time on the bench so I need to get more confidence and the goal gave me that as well.

“When I’m on the ground, I don’t want to concede. I need to show more good quality and performance to get my position back.”

Asked about the defenders having to dig deep after Wanyama’s sending off, Yoshida said, “Victor’s now going to have to pay some crispy donuts or something to the (other) players. It was a great victory for us and we showed great spirit.”

Saints manager Ronald Koeman had praise for Yoshida’s ability to shine after his spell on the bench.

“Maya’s was an excellent performance today,” Koeman said. “Because when you’re not playing, maybe you feel a little bit of a lack of confidence, but the goal he scored made him proud and gave him confidence, which he deserved because he played on an outstanding level.”

The win kept Saints seventh in the league with 25 points, but trailing sixth-place West Ham only on goal difference.