English Premiership

Saints end season with win over Palace

2016-05-15 19:44
Sadio Mane (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Southampton took themselves to the verge of Europa League football by securing a 4-1 win over Crystal Palace at St Mary's on Sunday.

Sadio Mane opened the scoring following an error from Julian Speroni, the Palace goalkeeper's poor clearance giving the Senegal international the chance to show his skill with a neat lob.

After grabbing a second through Graziano Pelle, the Saints conceded to Jason Puncheon, who blasted a loose ball in from just inside the area.

There followed a brief period of pressure from the Eagles but Ryan Bertrand's penalty and a neat finish from Steven Davis put an end to a possible comeback from the visitors.

It took almost the entire half for the home team to convert one of the several chances they had into a goal.

Mane scored his 15th goal in all competitions for the hosts after Speroni came off his line to clear a Dusan Tadic cross, but only managed to land the ball at the Senegal international's feet. Mane did well to lob the ball neatly over the keeper and into the net.

Palace threatened occasionally after the restart, most notably through Dwight Gayle, who brought the best out of Fraser Forster with a shot from close range.

But the Saints put themselves in a commanding position on 61 minutes through Pelle.  The Italian found himself at the end of a lovely Cuco Martina cross and headed home with ease.

The Eagles started what looked like was going to be a spirited fightback when Puncheon found himself in enough space to blast a shot fiercely into the top corner from just inside the box.

Unfortunately for the visiting fans the comeback was derailed when Adrian Mariappa and Pape Souare combined to bring Mane down in the area. The referee pointed to the spot and Bertrand stepped up to restore their two-goal lead.

Mane had a number of opportunities to score the fourth, but it was Steven Davis who eventually did so. The 31-year old capped off a fantastic performance with a deserved goal following neat work from Pelle again.


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