Shane Long scored his first goal for nine months as Southampton moved out of the Premier League relegation zone with a battling win at Leicester, despite spending the entire second half with 10 men.

James Ward-Prowse gave Southampton an early lead from the penalty spot after Long was bundled over in the area by Nampalys Mendy.

Saints defender Yan Valery was then shown a second yellow card for a foul on Marc Albrighton but Ireland striker Long doubled their lead just before half-time with his first Southampton goal in 22 appearances.

Wilfred Ndidi scrambled home Ricardo Pereira’s cross to bring Leicester back into the game at the start of the second half, but Southampton held on for a priceless victory.

The three points lift Southampton above Newcastle and Cardiff into 16th place. Leicester meanwhile drop one place to eighth.

It is a third win in seven Premier League games for new Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, who punched the air with delight at the final whistle.

His side were forced to defend on the edge of their own penalty area for the entirety of the second half, but the Southampton backline was superbly marshalled by Jannik Vestergaard, Jan Bednarek and Jack Stephens and the win gives them real hope of avoiding relegation.

Shane Long would probably not have started this game were it not for injuries to fellow strikers Danny Ings, Charlie Austin and Michael Obafemi.

The 31-year-old had failed to hit the back of the net for Southampton since a 3-2 defeat by Chelsea at the start of April and has largely played the role of not-so-super sub this season.

But after being restored to the starting line-up for last week’s FA Cup draw with Derby, the 31-year-old retained his place and chose the ideal time to score just his second goal in 36 appearances for club and country.

The former Hull, West Brom and Reading striker more than played his role in a disciplined Saints performance as the visitors looked to defend deep before hitting Leicester on the counter.

They were helped on their way by some sloppy defending by the Foxes, with Mendy needlessly bundling Long over in the area to allow Southampton to take the lead from the penalty spot.

Mendy and Pereira then failed to deal with a routine goal-kick, allowing Long to steal in and double the away side’s lead seconds before the half-time whistle.

Moments before that goal, teenage defender Valery, who up to that point had been impressive down the Southampton right, was deservedly sent-off for a needless tug on Albrighton.

However, Long’s goal had given Southampton the buffer they needed to launch a spirited defensive effort in the second half.

Bednarek was at the heart of Southampton’s good defensive work. The Poland defender made more blocks and clearances than any other Saints player whilst defensive partner won 100% of his aerial duels, summing up the Saints’ battling qualities at the back.




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