- Pelle ends drought, scores twice
- Arnautovic nets 10th of season
- Sixth red of season for Saints, PL high
- Saints leapfrog Stoke, move into 7th
10-man Southampton beat Stoke City 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, as Saints jumped ahead of Stoke in the congested battle for Europa League qualification.
Two first half goals from Graziano Pelle did the damage, as the Italian international striker was back in form to menace Stoke’s defense.
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The visitors started well and Pelle opened the scoring early on with a header from Steven Davis‘ corner which was flicked on by Stoke’s Phillipe Wollscheid and the Southampton man beat Glenn Whelan to nod home.
1-0 to Southampton.
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Inside the first 30 minutes the Saints doubled their lead with Pelle doubling his tally.
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In the second half Jordy Clasie picked up an early booking and Stoke piled on the pressure and were soon back in it.
Ibraim Affelay’s cross was flicked into the roof of the net by Arnautovic, as the Austrian scored his 10th goal of the season. Game on.
Tadic went down late on under a challenge from Jack Butland in the box but no penalty was awarded and the Serbian midfielder did look to dangle his leg out… but Stoke still looked nervously towards referee Lee Mason.
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
Former Saints forward Peter Crouch came off the bench in the closing stages, but Southampton substitute James Ward-Prowse struck the crossbar with a free kick with 3 minutes of regulation left as the visitors were inches away from making it 3-1.
Sub Mane was sent off in stoppage time as the Senegalese forward led with his elbow and Erik Pieters went down. In truth the dismissal was harsh, but 10-man Saints held on to secure a vital three points in the race for European qualification.