Southampton stun Manchester City at St. Mary’s
Southampton dented Manchester City’s title hopes after recording an unexpected 3-1 victory against the English Champions. The Saints are now 15th in the Premier League, 6 points clear of relegation; City remain 9 points adrift of leaders, Manchester United.
Mancini had no strikers on the bench, as Carlos Tevez had to pull out of the squad last minute due to family reasons, which left Edin Dzeko as the main man up front.
The first half was all Southampton. The home side seemed inspired and their positive approach to the game paid off after just seven minutes. Gareth Barry was dispossessed by Jason Puncheon who was quick to feed the ball to Jay Rodriguez, but the Englishman was denied by Hart. However Puncheon, who had continued his run into the box, capitalised on slow City defence to put his side 1-0 up.
Before City knew it they were 2-0 down at St. Mary’s. This time it was Joe Hart who had to take the blame for the goal. Rickie Lambert’s powerful shot was blocked by the City keeper, but the English number 1 let the ball slip through his hands, only to find Steven Davis, who tapped in from a close range.
Southampton’s players were beginning to look a bit more relaxed as Danny Sharpe stepped up to take a free-kick. Dzeko blocked the shot with his head, which found Rafael Da Silva. City were on counterattack with the Spaniard who slipped a well-measured ball to Pablo Zabaleta and Edin Dzeko, who had carried on from his own half, got on the end of the cross and lifted the ball over Boruc to give the defending champions some hope.
The travelling City fans were not happy by the first half performance as players left the pitch. In the second half, Roberto Mancini’s men came out brighter but yet somehow had the worse start as Gareth Barry scored an own goal to give the Saints some breathing space. Just after three minutes from the restart, the home side were putting the City defence under pressure and a cross from Paul Lambert caused Barry to side-foot a bizarre clearance attempt into his own net.
The match ended 3-1 which now leaves Manchester City nine points behind title favourites Manchester United, who could increase their lead to 12 if they beat Everton on Sunday.
Umida Ibrahimova, sports correspondent