Anthony Martial scored twice to guide Manchester United to a 3-2 victory at Southampton in an enthralling Barclays Premier League encounter on the south coast.
It was all Southampton in the opening stages and the hosts deservedly grabbed the lead via Graziano Pelle, who saw another attempt hit the post as Ronald Koeman’s side struggled to add a second.
United restored parity in the 34th minute when Martial got his first of the match and the France international again showed his composure after the break when he made it two; his third in as many matches for the club.
Juan Mata poured even more salt in the hosts’ wounds halfway through the second half, and although Pelle beat the excellent David De Gea again with a late header it came too late to spark a comeback.
The victory and Sunday’s other results lifted Man Utd to second place in the table with 13 points from six matches, just two points behind leaders and local rivals Manchester City.
Southampton started the encounter with attacking intent and got their first clear chance of the game after 10 minutes. Pelle set up Dusan Tadic at the back post, but the Serbia international fired just wide.
The hosts did open the scoring shortly after, though, via Pelle. De Gea pulled off a great save to deny Sadio Mane from close range after the latter hit a fine cross from James Ward-Prowse towards goal, yet the Italy international was alert to tap in the rebound.
Pelle nearly doubled his side’s lead in the 15th minute as Southampton pushed for a second. Oriol Romeu reached the former Feyenoord man in the area, but he was unlucky to send his shot against the upright.
Memphis Depay then got involved for United, setting up Martial after skipping past his opponent down the left, only for the young Frenchman to blast his shot from 18 yards out over the bar.
Southampton felt they deserved a penalty when Marcos Rojo seemingly brought down Tadic inside the box, but referee Mark Clattenburg was having none of it.
Louis van Gaal’s men then pulled level through Martial. Maya Yoshida prevented Juan Mata from getting a shot in, but the ball bounced into the new arrival’s feet and he shrugged off his marker before coolly slotting home.
Martial once more showed his class shortly after the interval when he took advantage of a mistake from Yoshida. The Japanese defender played a poor backpass and the ex-Monaco striker kept his cool in front of Maarten Stekelenburg to make it 2-1.
Jose Fonte nearly levelled matters just minutes later with a powerful header after Tadic’s corner, but De Gea denied the centre-back with a stunning reflex save.
United then extended their lead in the 68th minute. Bastian Schweinsteiger set up Memphis inside the area and the Dutchman twisted beyond his marker before hitting the post, with Mata pouncing on the rebound for his side’s third.
Southampton did get a second goal with four minutes left on the cloc, Pelle heading in a cross from Mane, but United played out the contest to collect the full three points.