Southampton 3 Crystal Palace 1
This game was always in danger of being forgotten but Danny Ings was determined to ensure his return did not go unnoticed. The striker scored twice to offer Gareth Southgate a timely reminder of his talents with two weeks to go until the England manager names his 26-man squad for Euro 2020, helping Southampton prevail against Crystal Palace, who led inside two minutes courtesy of Christian Benteke.
Benteke, one of 13 Palace first-team players out of contract at the end of the season, controlled Scott Dann’s knockdown from Luka Milivojevic’s free-kick and proceeded to make the most of some half-hearted defending by juggling the ball away from four red shirts before blasting his shot into the bottom corner.
Palace shaded the early stages but then two marvellous touches by Ings, back from the hamstring injury sustained against Tottenham last month, pulled Southampton level and gave the hosts sudden impetus. Ings delightfully brought Nathan Redmond’s cross under his spell with his back to goal, keeping Cheikhou Kouyaté at arm’s length before swivelling and squeezing a right-foot shot into the far corner.
It was a wicked finish and before a brief stoppage on 31 minutes allowed Kouyaté to break his Ramadan fast, the Palace goalkeeper, Vicente Guaita, superbly denied Redmond and Che Adams.
The Southampton defender Jack Stephens saw an effort deflected wide but soon after Palace spurned a chance to regain the lead. Redmond tripped Wilfried Zaha, quiet until that point, inside the penalty area and the referee, Andy Madley, pointed to the spot.
Up stepped Milivojevic but Fraser Forster saved down to his left to dent the Palace captain’s near-immaculate record from 12 yards. Milivojevic has scored 22 of his 25 penalties since joining Palace in 2017. James Ward-Prowse then sent a free-kick whistling wide of a post in first-half stoppage-time.
Aside from their sloppy start, Southampton played with the sharpness synonymous with Ralph Hasenhüttl's side and they prospered from a clever corner routine three minutes into the second half. Ward-Prowse drilled the ball into Stuart Armstrong, who whipped a first-time cross towards the back post, where Stephens and Adams were waiting. They flung themselves at the ball and Adams managed to thrash the ball in from an acute angle.
Zaha was quiet and Palace relatively tame. Forster pawed a Benteke header to safety before Stephens recovered after allowing the substitute Mohammed Salisu’s pass to run under his feet and into the striker’s path, but Ings sealed victory as Southampton held on to record a first win in six matches. – Guardian