Tuesday 25 September 2018

Long ends wait but Saints succumb to Palace storm

Southampton 1 Crystal Palace 2

Shane Long of Southampton reacts after a missed shot at goal. Photo: Getty Images
Shane Long of Southampton reacts after a missed shot at goal. Photo: Getty Images

Sam Dean

Even the long-awaited return to goalscoring form of Shane Long failed to restore the winning feeling to Southampton, who extended their winless run under Mauricio Pellegrino to nine games as Crystal Palace once again demonstrated their remarkable resilience.

In woeful conditions, Roy Hodgson's side scored two second-half goals, through James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic, to wash away the memory of Long's first goal since February, 2017.

James Tomkins of Crystal Palace celebrates victory. Photo: Getty Images
James Tomkins of Crystal Palace celebrates victory. Photo: Getty Images

To produce such a fightback would be impressive in any circumstance, but to do so in a full-blown storm, just two days after their last game, is testament to how far this Palace outfit has come since Hodgson's arrival.

Long finally broke his duck with little more than 15 minutes played. The Irishman's goal arrived after a sharp move down the left, with Ryan Bertrand's cross turned back into the centre of the box by opposite full-back Jeremy Pied. Long, unmarked, quickly lashed a first-time shot inside Wayne Hennessey's post.

Wilfried Zaha was a threat for Palace, but Hodgson's men looked as jaded as one might expect just two days after their exhausting draw with Manchester City.

Palace had the wind at their backs in the second half and gradually began to control proceedings. The equaliser was deserved. Christian Benteke nodded across goal, where McArthur was waiting to slam the ball into the roof of the net. The winner came 10 minutes later, as Milivojevic swept home a curling finish from the edge of the box.

Shane Long celebrates his goal against Palace with team-mate Dusan Tadic. Photo: Reuters
Shane Long celebrates his goal against Palace with team-mate Dusan Tadic. Photo: Reuters

Zaha should have made it three by the end, but skied his shot as the chants of "You're getting sacked in the morning" joined the rain in pouring on Pellegrino.

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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