Luka Milivojevic scores winner in Crystal Palace 2 – 1 victory over Southampton

Shane Long scores for Southampton
Shane Long scores for Southampton

THE Long wait for Southampton’s £12million striker to score finally ended.

Yet remarkably, that could not help Maurcio Pellegrino in his search for a Premier League win as Palace – who looked dead on their feet – delivered a brilliant comeback.

Goals from James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic means it is now nine games without a win for the Saints.

It also ensures Palace continue to climb to safety with a run of just one defeat in 11 games.

Shane Long who had failed to score in the previous 11 months, scored his first goal in 1320 minutes.

But after McArthur pulled one back, Milivojevic was the hero.

Not bad when you consider he missed the penalty which should have sent Manchester City to defeat on Sunday.

Quite how Palace won this game is remarkable but from somewhere – helped by Hodgson’s changes – they got a second wind and stole the points.

Before the game, Saints chairman Ralph Krueger took a hefty portion of the blame for the club creating an “earthquake” by sticking with Virgil van Dijk for the first half of the season before finally flogging him to Liverpool.

Luka Milivojevic celebrates his winning goal
Luka Milivojevic celebrates his winning goal

And Krueger also put his weight firmly behind manager Pellegrino even though some fans are unconvinced they have the right manager.

There were still plenty of boos on the final whistle.

Handed an extra day’s rest compared to their opponents, which was clearly a major factor, Saints did their best to get off to a stunning start but Long failed to get his shot on target after just 13 seconds.

With Palace failing to show much enterprise going forward, Wayne Hennessey saved his team with an outstanding save to keep out a drive from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

But there was nothing the Palace could do a couple of minutes later.

Southampton were given far too much space down the left and Jeffrey Schlupp failed to clear a deep cross from Ryan Bertrand.

Right-back Jeremy Pied showed intelligence by avoiding an aimless cross back into the area but instead picked out Long with a square ball. He showed more confidence than his previous chance and swept the effort past a stranded visiting keeper.

It was his first goal since scoring in a 4-0 win at Sunderland on February 11 last year.

Palace took half an hour before managing a shot with Andros Townsend seeing his shot pushed out for a corner from Alex McCarthy even though it was going wide.

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There were still plenty of boos on the final whistle.

Handed an extra day’s rest compared to their opponents, which was clearly a major factor, Saints did their best to get off to a stunning start but Long failed to get his shot on target after just 13 seconds.

With Palace failing to show much enterprise going forward, Wayne Hennessey saved his team with an outstanding save to keep out a drive from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

But there was nothing the Palace could do a couple of minutes later.

Southampton were given far too much space down the left and Jeffrey Schlupp failed to clear a deep cross from Ryan Bertrand.

Right-back Jeremy Pied showed intelligence by avoiding an aimless cross back into the area but instead picked out Long with a square ball. He showed more confidence than his previous chance and swept the effort past a stranded visiting keeper.

It was his first goal since scoring in a 4-0 win at Sunderland on February 11 last year.

Palace took half an hour before managing a shot with Andros Townsend seeing his shot pushed out for a corner from Alex McCarthy even though it was going wide.

“In no way shape or form am I angry at any one individual for what has happened here in the past months

“From the get-go, Mauricio has completely embraced the way we operate here.

The transfer that has just gone through is the end of a very difficult phase for the club.

“It was under the shadow of a stand and principle. That chapter closes now.

The cloud was there, we allowed a certain negativity into our very fragile environment, which is based on positivity, creativity, unity and looking at solutions.

“I believe we can truly get back to that now.“The training is good, the condition of the club is in a good place. The passion to grow our players is extreme through our whole supporting staff led by Mauricio. He is not only here because of that. He is here because of many things. I just want to underline that.”

Saints go to Fulham in the FA Cup on Saturday and despite the chairman’s words, the pressure is on their manager.

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