Southampton 3-1 Crystal Palace: Late Saints strikes keep Eagles in trouble
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 08/04/17 6:08pm
Two late goals saw Southampton come from behind to beat Crystal Palace 3-1 at St Mary's on Wednesday night.
The visitors took a 31st-minute lead through Christian Benteke's fifth goal in his last five Premier League games against the Saints.
However, Southampton responded with strikes from Nathan Redmond just before half-time, and Maya Yoshida and James Ward-Prowse in the final four minutes of the game.
As a result, Claude Puel's side have eased any relegation fears they may have had leading up to the game, but the Eagles are just three points clear of the drop zone and still deep in trouble.
Southampton were without left-back Ryan Bertrand and striker Manolo Gabbiadini, while the Italian's possible replacement in attack, Sofiane Boufal, was also out.
The Eagles, meanwhile, were unable to call upon the services of Scott Dann after the experienced central defender sustained knee ligament damage in Saturday's win at Chelsea.
The visitors were missing the injured trio of James Tomkins, Patrick van Aanholt and Loic Remy as well for the trip to the South Coast.
Holding midfielder Luka Milivojevic almost opened the scoring with a 13th-minute free-kick that beat the wall and Fraser Forster in Southampton's goal, only to strike the outside of the post.
However, in an end-to-end affair, the home side then went desperately close to making the breakthrough via unlikely means as Redmond rose high at the far post to meet Cedric's right-wing cross with a firm header, but Wayne Hennessey did well to claw his effort round the post.
Ten minutes later, the Eagles took the lead through a lovely team goal involving first Jeff Schlupp and Wilfried Zaha down the left flank, before the ball was worked to the opposite wing via Jason Puncheon and Andros Townsend.
The England international then drilled across the six-yard box an inviting centre from which Benteke could not miss as the striker scored his third goal of the season against the Saints.
Southampton levelled matters in controversial circumstances in the final minute of the half as James Ward-Prowse chased down a lost cause near the right touchline, before appearing to barge Zaha over.
Referee Roger East saw nothing wrong with the challenge, though, allowing the Saints midfielder to swing a cross towards Redmond at the back post and the winger found the back of the net with a scuffed effort.
Both teams had chances to retake the lead after the break, with Martin Kelly striking the post for Palace, while Shane Long spurned two wonderful openings for Southampton after being played clean through on goal.
However, as the Saints continued to push forward, eventually their late pressure told as Redmond got free to the left byline and after Jack Stephens had flicked the ball on, his central-defensive partner Yoshida tapped home at the far post.
The game was then over as a contest 60 seconds later as Dusan Tadic sent Cedric scampering down the right flank and the Portuguese's inch-perfect cross was tucked home by the waiting Ward-Prowse six yards out.
Southampton: Forster (6), Cedric (7), Stephens (6), Yoshida (6), McQueen (6), Davis (6), Romeu (7), Ward-Prowse (8), Tadic (7), Redmond (9), Long (7)
Used subs: Rodriguez (6), Hojbjerg (6)
Crystal Palace: Hennessey (8), Ward (6), Kelly (6), Sakho (6), Schlupp (6), Cabaye (6), Milivojevic (7), Townsend (7), Puncheon (6), Zaha (7), Christian Benteke (7)
Used Subs: Sako (6), Delaney (6), Flamini (6)
Man of the Match: Nathan Redmond