Saturday 22 July 2017

Yoshida spares Long's blushes

Southampton 3 Crystal Palace 1

Maya Yoshida is swamped by teammates after giving Southampton the lead. Photo: REUTERS
Maya Yoshida is swamped by teammates after giving Southampton the lead. Photo: REUTERS

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Maya Yoshida and James Ward-Prowse spared Shane Long's blushes as Southampton hit two goals in as many minutes to sink Crystal Palace at St Mary's.

Ireland striker Long spurned a trio of gilt-edged chances and Saints were almost made to pay for that, until Yoshida came to the rescue.

The Japan defender's tap-in seven minutes from time turned this tie, after Christian Benteke and Nathan Redmond had traded first-half goals. Saints laboured without injured arch-finisher Manolo Gabbiadini, with Long unable to match the Italian's predatory instincts.

Luka Milivojevic's calmness started a field-length move for the visitors that ended with Benteke firing home from Andros Townsend's low ball.

Saints were rightly aggrieved to be denied a clear penalty when referee Roger East dismissed claims for handball by Jeffrey Schlupp, who almost punched clear as Dusan Tadic tried to create space in the box.

Southampton vented frustrations with the equaliser, as Redmond's skidding shot found a way through the bodies.

Southampton's Shane Long has a shot at goal. Photo: REUTERS
Southampton's Shane Long has a shot at goal. Photo: REUTERS

After the break Long's finishing failed to match Saints' approach play but just when they appeared out of ideas, up popped Yoshida, turning the ball home thanks to Jack Stephens' assist and Redmond's neat cutback.

Suddenly Saints shook the shackles, with Ward-Prowse firing the third after good approach play from Tadic and Cedric Soares.

Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke wins a header. Photo: REUTERS
Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke wins a header. Photo: REUTERS
Crystal Palace's Wayne Hennessey makes a save. Photo: REUTERS
Crystal Palace's Wayne Hennessey makes a save. Photo: REUTERS
Southampton's Dusan Tadic appeals to match referee Roger East after Shane Long goes down in the box. Photo: PA
Southampton's Dusan Tadic appeals to match referee Roger East after Shane Long goes down in the box. Photo: PA

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