Saints stop the rot to blow rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle wide open

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - FRONT PAGE -

DU­SAN Tadic scored twice to hand Southamp­ton a Premier League sur­vival life­line with a nervy 2-1 win over Bournemouth at St Mary’s. Vic­to­ries for Crys­tal Palace and rock-bot­tom West Brom also blew the rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle wide open, while Stoke grabbed a po­ten­tially cru­cial point against Liver­pool at An­field.

Mark Hughes’ Saints started the day four points from safety and in des­per­ate need of three points against their south-coast ri­vals to re­al­is­ti­cally keep alive hopes of pre­serv­ing their top-flight sta­tus. Tadic blasted his side into the lead on 25 min­utes on the end of a quick break by Mario Lam­ina be­fore Josh King equalised for the Cher­ries in stop­page time at the end of the first half.

But Tadic struck again in the 54th minute when he sent a cool fin­ish past Bournemouth keeper As­mir Be­govic, be­fore his side clung on through a tor­rid fi­nal few min­utes.

Need­ing a win to main­tain their stay of ex­e­cu­tion, West Brom con­tin­ued their fine run un­der Dar­ren Moore with by tak­ing all three points at New­cas­tle.

Matt Phillips scored the only goal of the game in the 29th minute and Jay Ro­driguez could have ex­tended the Bag­gies’ lead but the home side hit the wood­work twice through Kenedy and Dwight Gayle.

Palace all but sealed their own safety with an em­phatic 5-0 win over Le­ices­ter which piled more pres­sure on un­der-fire Foxes boss Claude Puel.

Wil­fried Zaha set up the rout with his eighth goal of the sea­son in the 17 th minute be­fore turn­ing provider to set up James McArthur for the Eagles’ sec­ond just be­fore the break.

Marc Al­brighton was sent off in the 56th minute for bring­ing down Zaha and Roy Hodg­son’s men took full ad­van­tage with three goals in the fi­nal 10 min­utes from Ruben Lof­tus-Cheek, Pa­trick van Aan­holt and a late Chris­tian Ben­teke penalty.

Stoke also gave them­selves a shout at sur­vival although they were left dis­ap­pointed not to take more from a goal­less draw against Liver­pool at An­field.

Mo­hamed Salah looked out of sorts af­ter his mid­week hero­ics against Roma as Jur­gen Klopp’s men con­tin­ued to make hard work of en­sur­ing an­other top-four fin­ish, with Stoke de­fender Erik Pi­eters out­stand­ing.

The home side had a shout for hand­ball by Pi­eters waved away late on, while Stoke could have won it at the death when Ryan Shawcross fired inches wide.

Hud­der­s­field find them­selves back in the rel­e­ga­tion dog­fight af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing 2-0 home de­feat to Ever­ton, for whom Cenk To­sun and Idrissa Guete scored a goal in each half.

And Sean Dy­che’s Burn­ley must wait a lit­tle longer to con­firm a place in next sea­son’s Europa League af­ter they were held to a goal­less draw at home by Brighton.

Photo: David Klein

Southamp­ton’s two-goal hero Du­san Tadic cel­e­brates af­ter his side’s cru­cial vic­tory over Bournemouth at St Mary’s yes­ter­day.

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