Southampton recorded their first win in four Premier League matches as they beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at St Mary’s on Tuesday.
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Sadio Mane scored the games only goal inside the final 10 minutes, as Saints once again dominated but struggled to break down a stubborn Crystal Palace outfit.
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However Mane kept his cool to send Saints into fifth place as they are now just two points behind third-placed Arsenal but the Gunners have a game in hand. With the victory Saints are now on 49 points, while Palace remain in 12th place on 30 points.
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Saints dominated possession early on as Palace struggled to get going down on the south coast. Filip Djuricic then had a great chance to score their first goal in four games, as Victor Wanyama’s wild effort was controlled by the Serbian playmaker but he rifled a shot wide when he should have done better.
Palace only had 40 percent of the possession in the first half but almost went ahead after a near catastrophic blunder from Fraser Forster. Yannick Bolasie looped in a high cross which looked easy enough for Forster to gather but he dropped the ball and Wilfried Zaha just couldn’t get clean contact as Saints’ goalkeeper survived an almighty scare.
Just before the interval Saints should have gone ahead as Eljero Elia drilled a low shot at goal which Julian Speroni spilled but Pelle failed to direct the rebound on goal from just six-yards out.
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Despite all of their possession, Saints almost fell behind minutes into the second half as Zaha skimmed a low shot towards goal and it bounced off the post and out. Saints continued to press and Maya Yoshida toe-poked a shot just wide with the home side cranking up the pressure late in the game.
The moment Saints fans at St Mary’s had been waiting over 387 minutes for finally arrived, as substitute James Ward-Prowse picked up the ball from Mane and drove a shot on goal which Speroni could only parry and Mane was on hand to dink home a lovely finish to put Saints 1-0 up in the 83rd minute. It was a lead they held onto for a crucial win, as St Mary’s celebrated victory at the final whistle.
Southampton: Forster, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Djuricic (Ward-Prowse, 78′), Elia (Tadic, 60′), Mane, Pelle (Long, 70′)
Goal: Mane (83′)
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Kelly, Delaney, Dann, Ward, McArthur (Ameobi, 84′), Ledley, Zaha, Puncheon, Bolasie, Gayle