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Crystal Palace 1 Southampton 0: Cabaye goal sinks Saints

Yohan Cabaye scored the only goal of the game as Crystal Palace solidified their place in the Premier League’s top six with a 1-0 home victory over Southampton.

The French midfielder struck seven minutes before the break, bagging his fifth goal of the season after fine approach work from Yannick Bolasie.

The win was Palace’s first over the visitors in 13 league meetings dating back to 1991 and Alan Pardew’s men were well worth the points at Selhurst Park.

Southampton did create several decent chances in the first half, but found themselves on the back foot for long periods as their winless run in all competitions was extended to five games.

The hosts, meanwhile, secured back-to-back home league victories for the first time since April 2014 and remain very much in contention for a Europa League place.

Both sides struggled to adapt to the blustery conditions during the early exchanges and clear-cut chances were consequently very much at a premium.

The first effort on target finally arrived on 21 minutes, with Paulo Gazzaniga, surprisingly selected ahead of Kelvin Davis to replace Maarten Stekelenburg, called upon to keep out a fine strike from Bolasie.

And the Argentinian followed that spectacular save with a further two within the next minute, denying Cabaye and Connor Wickham.

Having come close to breaking the deadlock, Palace were then very nearly stung on the break as Sadio Mane released Shane Long, but the Irishman’s attempted curler sailed high and wide.

While it was the hosts who continued to dominate possession, they enjoyed another let-off on the half-hour mark. Steven Davis climbed above Scott Dann to meet a superb cross from Cedric Soares, but Wayne Hennessey somehow clawed the Northern Irishman’s header over the bar.

Eight minutes later, however, Palace responded with the goal that their dominance warranted.

The lively Bolasie burst into the box, whipped in a low cross and Southampton’s defence was conspicuous by its absence as Cabaye was left completely unmarked to sidefoot home from close-range.

Bolasie continued to torment the visitors as Palace began the second half on the front foot, stabbing another dangerous ball across the face of goal on 48 minutes which Wickham was just unable to slide home. 

Southampton gradually begin to force their way back into the contest, gaining a foothold in midfield for the first time and carving out a decent shooting opportunity on 67 minutes, which was wasted by Davis as he fired straight at Hennessey. 

Ronald Koeman threw Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle into the fray, but Hennessey yet again came to Palace’s rescue, denying Long’s fierce stoppage-time strike before the Irishman flashed a header across the face of goal from the resulting corner, leaving Saints looking over their shoulders in the bottom half.

Sat 12 Dec, 2015
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