LONDON: Southampton cast aside their Premier League struggles to reach the FA Cup semifinals with a 3-0 win at Bournemouth.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have slumped into the Premier League relegation battle after losing 10 of their last 12 top-flight matches.
But Southampton have been immune to those woes in the FA Cup this term and they booked a place in the Wembley semifinals thanks to Nathan Redmond’s double after Moussa Djenepo’s opener.
Southampton, FA Cup winners in 1976, are back in the semifinals for the first time since 2018, with their most recent final appearance coming in a 2003 defeat against Arsenal.
Playing in the FA Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 1957, second-tier Bournemouth were out-classed by a Southampton team sorely in need of a morale-boosting victory.
While Premier League survival is the priority, Hasenhuttl insists the FA Cup was a “big target” and he made just two changes against a Bournemouth team who sat seventh in the championship.
It proved a wise move as Southampton carved open the Bournemouth defense to take the lead in the 37th minute.
Redmond’s enterprising run took him past two defenders to the edge of the area and he slipped a deft pass to Djenepo, who guided a composed finish into the far corner from 8 yards.
Having provided the assist for the Mali winger’s first goal since October, Redmond did it all on his own to double the lead in first half stoppage time.
Seizing possession after Diego Rico failed to deal with Stuart Armstrong’s chested flick, Redmond accelerated toward the Saints area, leaving Steve Cook in his wake before guiding a superb strike into the roof of the net.
Redmond put the result beyond doubt with his third goal of the season in the 59th minute, the midfielder slotting home from 10 yards after Armstrong’s shot bounced back off the post.
In Sunday’s last eight action, Manchester United travel to Leicester in a clash between the teams currently in second and third place in the Premier League respectively.
United are hoping to win the first trophy of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign this season after four years without major silverware.
United last won the FA Cup in 2016, while Leicester have not reached the final since 1969 and are still waiting to win the competition for the first time.
Chelsea, beaten in last year’s final by Arsenal, will look to extend Thomas Tuchel’s club record unbeaten start as manager to 14 games when they host struggling Sheffield United.