REPORT: Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton

By SFC Media time Sat 12 Dec Club

Yohan Cabaye’s close range first half strike gave Crystal Palace a narrow win over Saints at Selhurst Park.

Cabaye struck in the 38th minute of a tightly contested match in south London as Palace ended a long run of games without a league win over Southampton which stretched back to 2008.

Both goalkeepers were called upon to keep the score down, with Saints stand-in Paulo Gazzaniga producing significant saves in both halves, while his opposite number, Wayne Hennessey was in fine form to keep out a header from Steven Davis and a late shot from Shane Long.

The defeat extends Saints’ winless run extended to four Premier League games, and was just their second league loss on the road this season.

There were four changes to the Saints team with Paulo Gazzaniga among them as he replaced the injured Maarten Stekelenburg in goal for his first appearance of the season.

Maya Yoshida, Oriol Romeu and Shane Long were also brought into the side, with the visitors naming five defenders in their starting line-up.

Hosts Palace got the game under way, with Saints defending the Holmesdale end in their changed strip of green and blue.

It was at that end where most of the action was in the opening 20 minutes or so, with Palace creating the early openings before testing Gazzaniga three times in the space of a minute.

Yannick Bolasie saw a cross carried by the wind which the Saints stopper watched all the way before tipping over the crossbar, and from the resulting corner kick, Gazzaniga was called upon again to deny Cabaye’s thumping shot at the near post.

He was in the right place again to keep out a header from Connor Wickham with a block before gathering at the second attempt.

Wilfried Zaha then got the better of Ryan Bertrand to fire a shot over the bar, but Saints weathered the storm and grew into the game.

The visitors created three good chances of their own, the first of which came on 25 minutes when Sadio Mané played the ball over the top for Long who stayed onside, and curled a strike just past the far post.

Just past the half hour Mané backheeled the ball to Cédric on the right and his cross found Steven Davis, whose well-timed header was impressively tipped over by goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

Victor Wanyama dragged the ball back across to Mané who shot over from the narrow angle, before palace broke away to score the opening goal of the game on 38 minutes.

Zaha moved the ball into the path of Bolasie on the right, who put in a pinpoint delivery across the face of goal to Cabaye, and he turned the ball in from six yards out into the bottom left corner for 1-0.

Saints nearly responded before the break when Yoshida headed a corner from Davis towards goal but Palace were able to clear their lines and hold a one goal lead heading into the break.

There no changes to either team at the interval, and Palace set about doubling their lead with their first attack of the half when Bolasie squirmed through on the right, but his cross missed everyone inside the area, while Puncheon couldn’t turn it in at the far post.

Saints created a couple of half chances through Virgil van Dijk and Oriol Romeu who each took shots at goal, the latter of which warmed the hands of Hennessey, while at the other end, Ryan Bertrand produced a good block to deny Zaha on the break.

The double introduction of Graziano Pellè and Dušan Tadić gave Saints a three pronged forward line, with Mané and Long each sitting either side of Pellè through the middle for the final 25 minutes or so.

Palace however, went close to scoring again on 77 when Bolasie broke free on the left to pull the ball back for Zaha, who fired over with a first time strike.

James Ward-Prowse entered the action with just over ten minutes remaining, with former Saint, Puncheon making way for Jordon Mutch in the closing stages.

Gazzaniga was called into action twice more inside the final five minutes as he got down well to deny Wickham’s low drive, before pushing away Bolasie’s fierce strike after a melee at the far post.

Saints threw everything at Palace late on as three minutes of stoppage time were allocated, with Long’s low shot was saved by Hennessey, and then his near post header from a corner dropped just wide, as the hosts held on for their win.

Crystal Palace team (4-1-4-1): Wayne Hennessey; Joel Ward, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney (c), Pape Souaré; James McArthur; Yohan Cabaye, Yannick Bolasie, Jason Puncheon (Jordon Mutch 84), Wilfried Zaha; Connor Wickham (Marouane Chamakh 90). Unused substitutes: Alex McCarthy (GK), Adrian Mariappa, Fraizer Campbell, Chung Yong-Lee, Martin Kelly.

Goal: Cabaye (38)

Southampton team (3-5-2): Paulo Gazzaniga; Virgil van Dijk,  José Fonte (c), Maya Yoshida (Dušan Tadić 66); Cédric, Victor Wanyama, Oriol Romeu (James Ward-Prowse 79), Steven Davis (Graziano Pellè 66), Ryan Bertrand; Shane Long, Sadio Mané. Unused substitutes: Kelvin Davis (GK), Jordy Clasie, Cuco Martina, Juanmi.

Referee: Mike Dean

Attendance: 24,914 (including 2,858 away)

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