English Premier League

Crystal Palace 1 – 0 Southampton

Crystal Palace held on to earn a narrow victory, their third consecutive home win of the season, against a tenacious Southampton at Selhurst Park.

Odsonne Edouard provided the only goal when Wilfried Zaha nipped the ball away from Lyanco and found Tyrick Mitchell, who cut back to set up a simple finish for Edouard.

Southampton improved significantly in the second half and were unlucky not to find an equaliser as Che Adams and Stuart Armstrong both went close and Palace nervously held on to the three points.

The defeat ends a run of three Premier League matches unbeaten for Southampton, who held then league-leaders Arsenal to a 1-1 draw last week.

Palace sit 10th in the table, while Southampton are 16th, two points from the relegation zone.

Palace are unbeaten in four of their six home games this season with this their last in front of a home crowd before the World Cup break.

It is their first clean sheet of the season at Selhurst Park and the first time since May 2018 they have earned three successive home wins.

Aside from one early corner, which Palace keeper Vicente Guaita had to punch away, and a Che Adams shot which hammered off the post but was then pulled up for offside, Southampton were firmly under pressure throughout the first half.

Palace should have opened the scoring earlier, when Eberechi Eze managed a neat little flick over his head to get the ball under control and out to Zaha, who drove forward and squared a wonderful ball across the box with Edouard mere inches away from getting a toe to it.

Twice within the space of a few minutes Eze fired the same shot in from the outside the area – both times finding himself in acres of space. The first was well saved by Saints goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu, while the second went inches wide.

Palace have had to come from behind in all of their victories until this one, having held a record of one draw and one loss when leading at half-time.

Southampton continued to lose the ball in dangerous areas, with the majority of the game played in their own half.

The Eagles had a goal struck off when Michael Olise released Edouard and the France forward tucked away a simple finish but Olise was offside in the build-up. However, Palace earned their just reward when Edouard slotted past Bazunu for his third goal of the season.

Southampton started the second half much better as Adams attempted a shot from just inside the area, forcing Guaita to come out and make a brave stop before Armstrong fired from a tight angle and the Palace keeper was again called into action to prevent the ball sneaking in at the near post.

Palace seemed unsettled by Southampton’s attempts to press and as the second half went on Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, who have now lost six of their last 10 games, saw the better of the chances.

Eze and Luka Milivojevic gave away the ball carelessly as sloppy mistakes crept in and Bazunu was a solid presence in the Southampton goal.

As was the case against Arsenal, Saints were much improved after the interval as Adams went close again and James Ward-Prowse saw his shot from range go wide.

Although it was a more even contest in the second period, Southampton, who have won eight points from losing positions in the league this season, were unable to snatch an equaliser as Armstrong had done against the Gunners.

Palace had a chance to kill off the game in the closing stages when Jordan Ayew drove into the box but he was too slow in waiting for the right moment to pick out Zaha in the middle and sent the pass straight to the feet of a Southampton defender.

A 4-0 loss at Manchester City earlier this month – Saints’ fourth defeat in a row in the Premier League – increased the scrutiny on manager Hasenhuttl but a third successive game unbeaten had helped alleviate that pressure.

However, Southampton’s record when trailing at half-time now extends to one draw and five losses this season, and this defeat will be a tough one for the Saints boss to take as his side had ample opportunity to earn at least a point.

source – BBC Sport

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