Middlesbrough 1-2 Southampton

Jay Rodriguez ended Southampton’s goalless run at 312 minutes in a win 2-1 at relegated Middlesbrough.

Claude Puel, who made seven changes to his side, saw Rodriguez notch his first goal since January when the striker met Shane Long’s cross first time to beat Brad Guzan for pace nearing half-time.

Nathan Redmond came off the substitute’s bench at the break and added his career best seventh Premier League goal, but Southampton found a way to make their final away trip a difficult one.

Long — looking to end a personal drought of 11 appearances without a goal — would clip the crossbar with his spot-kick shortly before Patrick Bamford pulled one back for the hosts.

It was mere consolation for Boro, who make an immediate return to the Championship having won just three games at the Riverside Stadium.

George Friend headed wide of Fraser Forster’s upright, which was the epitome of a trying opening 30 minutes.

Long nearly linked up with Rodriguez’s run at the far post, but Guzan did well to prevent the cross from reaching its intended target.

The two, however, finally gave Saints fans their first goal to cheer for since a 4-2 defeat at Chelsea on 25th April.

Jordy Clasie sent Long scampering down the right side before Rodriguez met a cross with a scooping volley.

Redmond, who had replaced Sofiane Boufal at half-time, made it 2-0 with an equally impressive effort that found the top-right corner with 57 minutes gone.

Guzan drew more ire out the home supporters when he brought down Long and referee Anthony Taylor didn’t hesitate to point to the spot. But Long was left with wry smile on his face as he failed to convert.

Bamford erupted when he bundled in his first goal since April 2015, as it set up a nervy finish for Southampton.

Calum Chambers almost fired Boro level in added time, but Fraser Forster fought off the attempt to secure Southampton’s first victory in six games.

Middlesbrough: Guzan, Fabio, Chambers, Gibson, Friend, Clayton, Forshaw (Leadbitter 60), de Roon, Downing (Fischer 60), Bamford, Negredo.

Unused subs: Dimi (GK), Barragan, Bernardo, Traore, Stuani.

Goals: Bamford (73).

Bookings: Clayton (66), Gibson (86), de Roon (90).

Southampton: Forster, Bertrand, Yoshida, Caceres, Pied, Clasie, Romeu, Hojbjerg (Davis 74), Boufal (Redmond 46), Rodriguez, Long (Austin 87)

Unused subs: Hassen (GK), Targett, Stephens, Ward-Prowse, Austin.

Goals: Rodriguez (42), Redmond (57).

Bookings: None.


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