Southampton 3-1 Crystal Palace: Danny Ings double aids Saints comeback
(Photo by Robin Jones/ Getty Images)

The creative freedom of Ralph Hasenhuttl and his Southampton team for the remainder of the Premier League season was in full flow on Tuesday night as a goal from Che Adams and a double from the returning Danny Ings secured all three points for the Saints.

Christian Benteke opened the scoring in the first two minutes, squeezing a shot beyond Fraser Forster, but the Englishman would atone for his concession later in the half.

Forster did his homework to deny Luka Milivojevic a goal from the penalty kick. Meanwhile, his teammates utilized the momentum shift to cruise to a 3-1 victory.

  • The match

Roy Hodgson's future had still not been decided, but for Southampton and Crystal Palace, mathematical safety had already been achieved before kick-off, deeming their Premier League futures safe.

Despite this, both managers still held back in their pre-match conferences, lauding the game as important as any other.

Crystal Palace raced out of the blocks, though, and Christian Benteke juggled the ball in the box before opening the scoring inside two minutes, a feat he had achieved just three days prior. 

It was a stunning opener that embodied the trademark strength and prowess of the Belgian's Premier League Career. A second early lead for Palace in as many games provided the bedrock for a good start to the clash.

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Palace would continue to pose a threat in the early passages, but it was Southampton who made full use of the flurry of chances next.

A cross from Nathan Redmond caused confusion in the Palace box, resulting in a goal for the home side. Danny Ings was the man quickest to react, converting a magnificent volley on the turn; the striker recorded his 100th club career goal in the process.

The goal would ignite a spark in the Palace ranks, and it wasn't long until they had another chance to take the lead once more. 

Wilfried Zaha was intelligent, and twisted in the box, dangling his leg out and forcing Redmond to bundle the Ivorian in the box. The referee brandished a penalty kick, uncontested by VAR.

Making himself look big, Fraser Forster was able to stop Luka Milivojevic from scoring the spot-kick, reducing the visitors to frustration. A third save in five Premier League penalties typified the quality of the veteran goalkeeper.

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Although Eberechi Eze failed to live up to Hodgson's great expectations for much of the evening, Benteke remained a pertinent focal point throughout the rest of the first half. 

However, they were unable to finish their chances, so a level scoreline awaited the second half.

  • Second half

Southampton flew out of the changing rooms upon the commencement of the second half; they sensed all three points.

Much like Palace with their first chance of the game, the Saints capitalised in their first foray forwards in the second half.

A dead-ball situation from the training ground proved good value for Che Adams as he converted after James Ward-Prowse's short corner fell to him at a tight angle.

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From that moment onwards, Southampton dominated, though Benteke was gifted a golden opportunity to take the lead just moments later.

Jannik Vestergaard miscontrolled the ball just outside his own box, leaving Benteke in acres of space, blooming with room to take a shot.

Unfortunately for the Belgian, his strike was blocked, and the home side flurried forward to add breathing space to their slender lead.

Che Adams, the earlier scorer, became the provider for Ings' second goal of the night. An exquisite piece of play saw the former Liverpool man prosper as a fox in the box, toe-poking the ball beyond a helpless Vicente Guaita.

Hodgson introduced Jean-Phillipe Mateta, Jeffrey Schlupp and Michy Batshuayi to the fray to mount a fight themselves, but Southampton's second-half dominance made sure that Palace would not have a chance.