Southampton 6-1 Aston Villa: Mane’s record hat trick blitzes abysmal Villa

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Southampton beat Aston Villa 6-1 at St Mary’s on Saturday as Sadio Mane stole the show with the quickest hat trick in Premier League history to keep Saints’ Europa League hopes well and truly on course.

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A blistering spell in 13 first half minutes saw Saints score four times as Mane bagged three goals in 2 minutes and 56 seconds to make PL history. Shane Long also scored twice in the first half, the second an absolute peach, with Graziano Pelle grabbing a superb volley late on for Saints’ sixth as Villa’s defense imploded with Tim Sherwood livid on the sidelines. Christian Benteke grabbed Villa’s lone goal at the end of the first half as the FA Cup finalists may go into the final game of the season with the threat of relegation still looming after this demoralizing defeat.

[ VIDEO: Mane scores fast PL hat trick ]

With the win Saints momentarily move up to sixth on 60 points, while Villa stay on 38 points but the Midlands club will be looking anxiously over their shoulder during the final game of the season.

A blistering start got underway at St Mary’s as Pelle had the ball in the back of the net early on but was incorrectly ruled offside by the linesman. The Italian forward was livid and moments later his side could have been behind as Benteke latched onto a ball from Ashely Westwood but fired wide of the post.

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Moments later came 2 minutes and 56 seconds that Mane, and most Saints fans, will never forget as the Senegalese forward recorded the fastest hat trick in PL history.

For his first goal Mane latched onto Pelle’s flick on and at the second time of asking he slotted the ball past Given. 1-0. Then 84 seconds later Mane made it 2-0 as a terrible back pass from Ron Vlaar saw Long latch onto the loose ball and as the ball broke lose following a challenge from Given, Mane was on hand to sweep the ball home. 2-0. Long then raced down the left flank and picked out Mane on the edge of the box as the former Red Bull Salzburg star side-footed home his and Saints’ third as everyone inside St Mary’s and watching on TV couldn’t believe what they were witnessing. 3-0 to Saints after 16 minutes as Mane now has 10 for the season.

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A shocking first half would only get worse for Villa as Long then added a fourth as Mane ran at Villa’s defense and slotted in Pelle who had his effort saved by Given but the ball found Long who slotted home. The best of the bunch came in the 39th minute as Long robbed Westwood on the halfway line and curled home a magnificent shot from 30-yards out to make it 5-0 as hundreds of Villa fans rushed to the exit before half time. Those that did stick around saw Benteke head home on the stroke of half time to make it 5-1 as an incredible 45 minutes ended.

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In the second half Saints continued to push for more goals as Long went close at the back post and had a few other scrambled efforts which Villa cleaned up. Gabriel Agbonlahor was denied by Paulo Gazzaniga twice late on with the Villans trying to make things respectable. To be fair, the home side stroked the ball around and let Villa come at them as Sherwood’s side pushed to make the scoreline more respectable.

Late on substitute Maya Yoshida saw his header cleared off the line, then Nathaniel Clyne fired over in the box as the home side finished with a flourish and in the 81st minute they made it 6-1. Mane whipped in a perfect cross from the right and Pelle slammed home a volley to seal the emphatic win in the sun on the south coast to give Saints’ fans the perfect sendoff in their final home game of the season.

LINEUPS

Southampton: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Fonte, Alderweireld, Bertrand, Wanyama, S Davis (Yoshida, 72′), Ward-Prowse (Djuricic, 80′), Long, Pelle (Elia, 85′), Mane

Goals: Mane (13′, 14′, 16′), Long (26′, 38′), Pelle (81′)

Aston Villa: Given, Bacuna (Lowton, 67′), Vlaar, Okore, Hutton, Westwood, Delph, Cleverley, N’Zogbia (Agbonlahor, 57′), Grealish (Sinclair, 82′), Benteke

Goal: Benteke (45′)

PSG wins French league after 2nd-place Lille fails to win

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PARIS (AP) Paris Saint-Germain clinched the French league title without kicking a ball as second-place Lille could only draw 0-0 at Toulouse on Sunday.

Lille had to win to have any chance of catching PSG, but PSG is now 16 points ahead of its only rival with five matches left after this weekend.

After failing to clinch the title in the past three matches, drawing one and losing two, PSG can celebrate the eighth title in its history ahead of its home game against Monaco later Sunday.

It is PSG’s sixth title in the last seven seasons, with only Monaco in 2017 breaking PSG’s dominance.

Although the title was long expected from a side scoring 92 goals in 32 games so far, it took longer than it should have.

PSG could have won it three games ago, but drew 2-2 at home to Strasbourg when a win would have clinched it.

Then PSG needed a draw at Lille last Sunday, only to lose 5-1 in the club’s heaviest defeat since Qatari investors QSI took charge of the club in June 2011.

A win away to Nantes would have sufficed, too, on Wednesday night only for PSG to lose 3-2 .

The 10 goals conceded in those three games made for PSG’s worst defensive record during a three-game spell since 1985.

Also Sunday, striker Kalifa Coulibaly scored twice as 13th-place Nantes beat 17th-place Amiens 3-2.

Later, Saint-Etienne needed a draw at Reims to move above Marseille and into fourth place.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Klopp hails Liverpool mettle in face of “proper banana skin”

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Jurgen Klopp knows that more than a few clubs would’ve slipped up Sunday at Cardiff City, given the hosts’ desperation and the visitors’ midweek triumph, but his Reds stood up to the test.

[ RECAP: Cardiff 0-2 Liverpool ]

Liverpool beat Cardiff City 2-0, scoring a pair of second half goals to go back atop the Premier League before Manchester City plays its final match-in-hand of the season in a midweek Manchester Derby.

“It was prepared to be a proper banana skin and we knew that, the boys were unbelievable,” Klopp said after his team kept a second consecutive clean sheet.

He insists that he’s not feeling pressure as Liverpool may need to win every one of its matches and get help to capture its first Premier League crown.

“I only know about me and I didn’t feel it (the pressure) we have to do it like we do it. We cannot change it. The boys try really with all they have, we only speak about the things we have to do. Their attitude is outstanding and it’s a tough season but a very positive one as well.”

Liverpool has two banana skins left, a visit from Huddersfield and trip to Newcastle, closing out the league slate with Wolves at Anfield.

Benteke leads Palace surprise at Arsenal (video)

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  • Benteke scores first goal since April 28, 2018
  • Zaha nabs ninth of season
  • Ozil goal forges brief deadlock

Christian Benteke scored a goal and added an assist as Crystal Palace handed much-changed Arsenal a 3-2 set back at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Wilfried Zaha and James McArthur also scored for the Eagles, while Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang posted Arsenal’s goals.

The win boosts Palace into 12th with 42 points, while Arsenal remains fourth with 66.

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Roy Hodgson‘s men took a surprising early lead through a strangely surprising source, given that Benteke was once a prolific and danger scorer.

With room to operate, the Belgian turned a header past Bernd Leno to put the Eagles on top.

Palace was fortunate not to concede a penalty through an Aaron Wan-Bissaka handball in the box, and Cheikhou Kouyate saw two bids to beat Leno saved by the keeper.

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Arsenal needed less than two second half minutes to equalize, with Iwobi finding Lacazette with a deft outside-of-the-boot pass. The Frenchman slid Ozil through on goal, and Ozil blasted it near side for a 1-1 score line.

Palace restored its lead thanks to a Benteke flick toward Zaha, with the Ivorian going around Shkrodan Mustafi before beating Leno.

And then it was 3-1, a 69th minute corner kick from Luka Milivojevic finding the back of the goal when James McArthur redirected a header into the goal.

Aubameyang needed a fortunate bounce to line up his shot, but deserved every bit of his 77th minute goal.

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Liverpool handles its business in Wales (video)

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  • Wiljnaldum scores opener off corner
  • Milner converts Salah-won penalty
  • Cardiff cannot finish chances

Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner scored to put Liverpool back atop the Premier League following a 2-0 defeat of Cardiff City on Sunday.

Neil Warnock‘s Bluebirds had their chances but simply lacked quality in finish. They remain three points back of Brighton and Hove Albion in the race to avoid relegation.

Liverpool is a point ahead of Man City before Wednesday’s Manchester Derby at Old Trafford.

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Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino broke the Cardiff back line, but Neil Etheridge closed down to help force the Brazilian to fire over the goal.

It was mostly Liverpool’s game, but Oumar Niasse need nearly luck into an in-tight finish after Victor Camarasa flubbed a shot into his path. Alisson Becker tipped it over the bar.

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Wijnaldum put the Reds on top about 12 minutes into the second half when he wrapped his right foot around a bounding set piece to send it flying past Etheridge.

Henderson’s would-be goal was blazed over the goal in the 61st minute. It wasn’t quite a sitter, but there was certainly some beckoning goal.

Cardiff’s Sean Morrison missed his second significant chance of the match off a 64th minute corner kick.

Roger East awarded a penalty kick to Liverpool when Morrison manhandled Mohamed Salah in the box. Milner rarely misses from the spot.

Etheridge made a tremendous save on Salah in the 90th.

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