West Bromwich Albion beat Southampton 1-0 at the Hawthorns on Saturday as Tony Pulis’ side continue to climb clear of the relegation zone.
[ RELATED: Watch full match replay ]
Saido Berhaino’s stunning finish less than two minutes into the match proved to be the game-winner, as Ronald Koeman’s Southampton have now scored just once in their last five games as their top four hopes took another big hit. Graziano Pelle spurned Saints’ best chance of the match as the Italian striker failed to connect from a yard out in the second half.
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With the victory the Baggies move up to 13th on 30 points and they have now lost just once in their last five games. Southampton stay in fifth on 46 points but may drop further behind Arsenal and Liverpool in the top four race, as they both play on Sunday.
[ RELATED: Latest PL standings ]
Less than 90 seconds into the match Berahino smashed the Baggies ahead as a free kick on the halfway line was launched forward and the England international hammered the ball into the top corner for his 17th goal of the season. 1-0 to West Brom.
Saints struggled in their new 3-4-3 formation, with Sadio Mane poking just wide with their best chance in the opening 20 minutes. Ronald Koeman made a tactical switch in the 25th minute as Florin Gardos was replaced by Eljero Elia and Southampton went into a 4-2-3-1 formation.
That opened things up as Morgan Schneiderlin clipped in a ball to Mane but he fired an effort high over the bar as Saints improved before half time.
In the second half West Brom broke free through Brown Ideye early on but he dallied on the ball and Saints cleared the danger. Soon after Berahino was replaced by Youssuf Mulumbu after going down injured following a tough tackle from Schneiderlin.
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Saints continued to push for an equalizer in the closing stages as Schnedierlin curled a free kick just wide and Elia headed over. A massive chance arrived for Saints 20 minutes from time as Ryan Bertrand got free on the left flank and put in a low ball to the near post where Pelle completely missed the ball from a yard out and Chris Brunt almost put the cross into his own net.
The Baggies had a chance to seal the win in the 80th minute as Craig Dawson nodded the ball down but Darren Fletcher drove the ball over. Pelle then had another great chance to equalize but his shot was easily saved by Ben Foster as Southampton ran out of steam, just like their top four challenge seems to be.
West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Lescott, Brunt, Morrison (Sessegnon, 72′), Yacob, Fletcher, Gardner, Ideye (Baird, 88′), Berahino (Mulumbu, 56′)
Goal: Berahino (2′)
Southampton: Forster, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Gardos (Elia, 25′), Bertrand, Wanyama (Davis, 45′), Schneiderlin, Tadic (Long, 74′) Mane, Pelle.