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Late goals from Maya Yoshida and James Ward-Prowse earned Southampton victory over Crystal Palace in an entertaining game at St Mary’s.
With seven minutes to go, Japan defender Yoshida tapped into an empty net to put Saints 2-1 in front, before Ward-Prowse slotted in a Cedric Soares cross moments later.
Christian Benteke had given the visitors a first-half lead, finishing a superb team move from close-range.
Nathan Redmond levelled in controversial circumstances for the hosts on the stroke of half-time, volleying in Steven Davis’ cross after the Southampton skipper had appeared to barge Wilfried Zaha off the ball.
Both sides looked set for a point apiece, before the late drama which moved Southampton nine points clear of the relegation zone.
Despite four wins on the bounce before facing Saints, including a surprise victory at leaders Chelsea on Saturday, Palace remain deep in relegation trouble – three points above the bottom three.
The game-changing moment just before the break left Palace’s players incensed, with Zaha having to be restrained by his team-mates as the teams headed down the tunnel at half-time.
Davis’ seemingly heavy challenge on the Ivory Coast winger saw a number of Palace players protest towards referee Roger East, but Saints played on and Redmond coolly finished past a static defence.
However, Palace may have been fortunate to get away with two penalty shouts just before the equaliser.
The ball appeared to strike Jeffrey Schlupp’s hand as Dusan Tadic tried to take it past him and Shane Long went down under a clumsy challenge from Luka Milivojevic.
Long, recalled in place of Jay Rodriguez, was a menace throughout but looked rusty in front of goal, missing several opportunities including an effort that went inches past the post after 40 seconds.
But it mattered little in the end, in a game which saw 42 shots in total, thanks to two goals inside a minute.
Yoshida pounced on some slack defending to stroke in Jack Stephens’ clever pass for his first league goal of the campaign and Ward-Prowse finished coolly from the centre of the box.
Palace boss Sam Allardyce will surely be livid his side failed to hold on to what could be a crucial point in their battle against relegation.
Of their eight remaining fixtures, five are against the current top six, along with a home game against in-form Leicester.
Their final two matches of the season at Selhurst Park could be pivotal in their survival – with relegation rivals Burnley visiting on 29 April and Hull on 13 May.
One plus point is the form of Benteke and Zaha who once again pulled the strings in attack.
Zaha showed great balance and trickery in the build-up to Palace’s goal, fooling three defenders before the ball worked its way out to Andros Townsend who left the Belgian striker with the easiest of finishes.
But the pair could not conjure a way past a resolute Saints defence for the remaining hour and Palace fell to their 17th loss in 30 league games.
Southampton manager Claude Puel: “I think we could have had three penalties by half-time. I’m happy because our players kept on going and found a solution at the end. I’m happy with the squad, and the quality and the result.
“We were physical and strong and it was important against this team.”
Crystal Palace boss Sam Allardyce on the incident leading up to Saints’ equaliser: “It was grievous bodily harm. The assistant referee is totally out of order not putting his flag up – not just 100%, about 200%.
“Wilf [Zaha] doesn’t get the protection he gets, everybody knows that, Wilf’s just blatantly bowled over right in front of the assistant referee – he can’t put his flag up for whatever reason, you need to ask him and hold him responsible for the Southampton team to get the opportunity to get the equaliser.”
Southampton travel to the side one place above them in eighth, West Brom, on Saturday, while Crystal Palace host Arsenal in a London derby at Selhurst Park on Monday (20:00 BST).