Southampton - Southampton striker Shane Long came off the
bench to bag a brace as the Premier League high-fliers clinched a 2-0 win over
Leicester on Saturday.
Long netted twice in the space of five
minutes late in the second half at St Mary's and the Republic of Ireland star's
first league goals for the club ensured the Saints will remain second in the
table heading into the international break.
Despite a turbulent close-season marked by
the departure of five key players and manager Mauricio Pochettino, Southampton
have been in inspired form under new boss Ronald Koeman.
They have won eight of their last nine
league matches and are starting to believe they could claim a shock place in
the Champions League via a top-four finish.
Leicester proved obdurate opponents but
Nigel Pearson's team couldn't hold out and they remain in the relegation zone
after their sixth defeat of the season.
Southampton striker Graziano Pelle had the
first chance when his effort was blocked from just inside the penalty area.
With torrential rain lashing down at St
Mary's, quality play was at a premium from both sides in the first half.
Sadio Mane provided a rare moment of
quality when the Senegal winger fired just over from a tight angle after his
cross came back off Marcin Wasilewski.
Saints suffered a blow when midfielder
Steven Davis limped off to be replaced by Jack Cork just before the break.
But Cork almost made an immediate impact
when he turned on Victor Wanyama's pass, only to scuff his shot wide from the
edge of the area.
Leicester had failed to score in four of
their last five league matches and forwards Leonardo Ulloa and Jamie Vardy were
both anonymous in the first half.
Pelle started the second half by lashing a
first-time strike over the bar after good play from Mane down the left flank.
Moments later Mane turned in Ryan
Bertrand's cross but the winger's effort was correctly ruled out for offside.
Pelle couldn't keep his shot on target and
Bertrand brought a routine save from Kasper Schmeichel as the hosts pressed for
the opening goal.
Koeman sent on Long in place of Mane in the
67th minute and it took just eight minutes for the switch to reap a rich
Cork floated a pass into Pelle from the
right and the Italian held off his marker long enough to tee up Long to bend a
left-foot shot into the far corner from the edge of the area.
Long sealed the points in the 80th minute
when he sprinted onto a long ball over the top of the Leicester defence,
beating the offside trap to calmly slot past Schmeichel.