Southampton 4-1 Crystal Palace

Southampton qualified for the Europa League with an emphatic victory over Crystal Palace.

Sadio Mane and substitute Graziano Pelle scored either side of the break before Jason Puncheon made it 2-1 in the 64th minute.

But Ryan Bertrand converted from the spot and Steven Davis added a fourth goal late to dispatch Palace.

Southampton moved into fifth place ahead of Manchester United, who saw their match at Old Trafford abandoned due to a security threat and rescheduled for Tuesday, 17th May.

Grounded

For a third consecutive match, Southampton took advantage of the situation their opponent found themselves in pumping in 10 goals over that stretch.

Despite Crystal Palace resting a host of players, including Connor Wickham, Johan Cabaye and ¬†Yannick Bolasie, ahead of the FA Cup Final on Saturday, the visitors nearly struck first when Dwight Gayle’s thumping effort was palmed away from goal on 18 minutes.

But Southampton then had five straight opportunities – three over a five minute period – to go in front as Dusan Tadic, Mane and Shane Long all narrowly beat the post.

Oriol Romeu sent in a low left-footed effort from the edge of the box, which was well covered by Julian Speroni before Virgil Van Dijk’s free kick clipped his bar.

Though shortly before halftime, Speroni – making only his second appearance of the season – pushed his clearance away as far as Mane who lofted the ball into an empty net.

Rising Saints

Southampton finished with a club record 63 points, besting last season’s effort by three, as well as improving on their position in the table.

And in consecutive years, the Saints will compete in the Europa League.

Southampton: Forster, Bertrand, Van Dijk, Fonte, Martina, Romeo (Pelle 46), Wanyama, Davis, Tadic (Ward-Prowse 71), Mane, Long (Austin 83).
Unused subs: Stekelenburg, Cedric, Yoshida, Reed, Austin.
Bookings: Pelle.
Goals: Mane (43), Pelle (61), Bertrand (75), Davis (87).

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward (Kelly 82), Mariappa, Delaney, Souare, Jedinak, McArthur (Lee Chung-yong 78), Puncheon, Mutch (Kaikai 46), Gayle, Adebayor
Unused subs: Dann, Campbell, McCarthy, Gray.
Bookings: Ward, McArthur.
Goals. Puncheon (64).

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