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STOKE v SOUTHAMPTON RECAP: Pelle double fires Saints to victory over Potters

Southampton required a Graziano Pelle brace to beat Stoke City 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

The opening goal came on 11 minutes when Pelle met Steven Davis' corner with a lovely header which flew in over Jack Butland and under the crossbar for the Italian's first goal in the league since early November.

Pelle than made it 2-0 on the half-hour mark when he received a clever little pass from Dusan Tadic before advancing into the area and stroking beyond Butland with a well-placed curling effort.

Seven minutes into the second half, Stoke pulled one back when Marko Arnautovic guided home Ibrahim Afellay's teasing cross with the outside of his right foot.

James Ward-Prowse was close to adding a third for the Saints but his superb free-kick in the 87th minute cannoned into the crossbar before SAdio Mane was sent off in injury-time for a challenge on Potters defender Erik Pieters.

The damage had earlier been done by Ronald Koeman's Saints who moved to seventh on the table thanks to their first win in four as Mark Hughes' Potters fell to ninth following a four-game unbeaten run.


Stoke City: 1 (Marko Arnautovic 52')
Southampton: 2 (Graziano Pelle 11'/28', red card: Sadio Mane 90+1')
Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent - 27,833


- Is mid-table as good as it will get for Stoke this season? Will they be able to hold onto Arnautovic in the summer?

- Southampton will be looking up the table to a possible top-four finish but can they bridge the 7-point gap with Man City?


Stoke head to Watford on Saturday as Southampton prepare to host Liverpool on Sunday.



Stoke boss Hughes on his side's poor beginning:

"That was the story of our day really, the start that we had.

"It takes the game away from us. At this level you can't give good teams - which Southampton are - you can't give them the start that we gave them."

Southampton's Koeman on the importance of Pelle and other strikers scoring regularly:

"If we like to keep fighting for European football then we need the front players in a good shape and scoring goals. That's a big impact for the team.

"I mentioned before that he was struggling a little bit in scoring goals. It was a great response from Graziano today, he was strong and scored two goals. I understand you can't score two goals every week but as a striker he needs to be important. He knows he's a big personality and he had a great game today."


*Thanks to Opta

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Andrew Slevison
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