By 90Min
January 02, 2018

Southampton squandered the lead at St. Mary's against a dogged Crystal Palace outfit on Tuesday night, as the away side fought to turn the tide with two second half goals.

The Saints had the lion's share of possession in the first half as they established midfield dominance early on, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Oriol Romeu recovering any loose balls or touches from the Eagles.

Shane Long was jubilant as he broke his mammoth 35 game goal-drought in the 17th minute, as stand in full-back Jeremy Pied got his head up and picked out a pin-point cut-back to Long from wide-right. The Irish striker obliged and emphatically dispatched his first-time strike into the bottom left corner.

Palace looked to be suffering with festive fatigue and stopped pressing the Saints in the 20th minute, instead opting to soak up pressure whilst looking to break through Wilfried Zaha - who was living on scraps until the interval.

Manuel Pellegrino's side stuttered after the break as a reinvigorated Palace fought their way back into the game and started winning second balls, but neither side showed great enough quality to capitalise on loose play for some time.

The game passed Roy Hodgson's side by, until the introduction of Bakary Sako for Jeffrey Schlupp. The momentum shifted in the favour of the travelling side as Townsend's long-ball into the box was flicked on by Christian Benteke, with James McArthur rifling the knock down into the net from close range in the 69th minute.

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Long failed to covert a loose ball in the box after a headed assist from Boufal in the 75th minute, with James Tomkins making the vital clearance as the ball settled.

The home side continued pressing to gain the upper hand in the 79th minute, with the introduction of the dangerous Nathan Redmond, but Palace continued fighting until Serbian international Luka Milivojevic turned the tide with a sensational long shot into the bottom corner with a brilliant right-footed shot across Alex McCarthy.

Southampton quite literally threw caution to the wind and penned Palace back as they attempted to get into the game but the finest chance of the closing moments came for Zaha, as the Ivorian latched onto a smashed ball from Wayne Hennessy, but somehow missed the target.

The home fans began leaving before the 90th minute mark, as the Eagles shrewdly wasted the remaining three minutes of added time with Sako and Benteke shielding the ball in the final third.

Southampton now have one win in 13 matches and Pellegrino cut a drawn figure as the remaining home supporters boo'd their team off at full-time. The hard fought victory ensured the Eagles went above their opponents on the day on what can only be described as a well deserved victory.

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