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.
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′)