English Premiership

Pelle answers Saints' prayers

2014-09-27 19:55
Graziano Pelle (Getty)

Southampton - Graziano Pelle's sensational overhead-kick goal saw in-form Southampton defeat former manager Harry Redknapp's Queens Park Rangers' side 2-1 on Saturday to stay second in the Premier League table.

After a goalless first half, the match sparked into life in the second period at south coast side Southampton's St Mary's Stadium.

England left-back Ryan Bertrand, on loan from leaders Chelsea, put Southampton 1-0 up with his first Premier League goal in the 54th minute.

But newly-promoted QPR, who've won just once in the English top flight so far this season, equalised through Charlie Austin's well-taken goal in the 66th minute only for Italian striker Pelle to restore Southampton's lead with an even better strike just two minutes later.

Victory kept Southampton three points behind Chelsea.

The Saints have so far made light of the departures of manager Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham Hotspur) and several first-team players, including Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert (both Liverpool), Luke Shaw (Manchester United) and Calum Chambers (Arsenal).

But they had to wait until nine minutes into the second half to break the deadlock against QPR, the west London club owned by Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes.

Senegalese winger Sadio Mane, making his Premier League debut for Southampton, backheeled the ball into the path Bertrand and he buried his shot past Rangers goalkeeper Robert Green.

Austin had been ploughing a lonely furrow up front, with Redknapp frustrating Southampton in the first half with a five-man midfield.

But the former Burnley striker showed his class when he controlled a cross out of the air with just one touch and then volleyed the ball past Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster with his second for QPR's first away goal of the season.

However, no sooner had QPR drawn level then they fell behind to Pelle's wonder-strike, the forward's fifth goal in six games for Dutch manager Ronald Koeman's high-flyers.

As Austin did, Pelle controlled a cross into the box and then smashed an overhead kick into the back of the net much to the delight of the home faithful.

Even then, Niko Kranjcar, who previously played for Rekdnapp at Portsmouth - Southampton's bitter south coast rivals - and Tottenham Hotspur, almost rescued an equaliser for QPR but his free-kick crashed off the crossbar and stayed out.


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