REPORT: Southampton 4-2 Manchester City
Southampton won 4-2 for the second game in a row, as a Sadio Mané hat-trick helped see off Manchester City at St Mary's.
A three-minute double salvo from Saints just before the 30-minute mark set them on their way to an impressive three points, as Ronald Koeman beat Manchester City for the first time.
Shane Long’s 100th goal in English football put Koeman’s men ahead, before Mané’s third goal in as many games doubled the lead for the hosts just three minutes later.
Kelechi Iheanacho’s goal just before half time gave the visitors hope, but Mané’s ninth league goal of the season just before the hour mark put Saints back in the driving seat.
The Senegal international completed his hat-trick with just over 20 minutes remaining to all but confirm the three points, before Iheanacho’s second made it 4-2 ten minutes later.
That was as good as it got for City though, as Saints saw the game out comfortably to make it seven wins in nine league games at St Mary’s.
While Koeman made three changes, City made eight, as Manuel Pellegrini rotated his side due to a UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg clash with Real Madrid coming up just three days after their visit to St Mary’s.
Mané, who rounded off the scoring in the win at Aston Villa, Jordy Clasie and Cuco Martina were the three introduced to the starting line-up for Saints, as Cédric, Oriol Romeu and Jay Rodriguez all dropped to the bench.
There was plenty of promise in the hosts’ attacking play early on, with Mané causing a number of problems for the City backline coming in from the right. City galkeeper Joe Hart
Long – in the best form of his Saints career since the turn of the year – was also proving a handful for the visitors.
It was Saints who started the brightest, as Mané and Long caused problems for the City defender. The latter had the game’s first real chance, as he picked up a pass from Jordy Clasie, but fired just wide of the near post.
Despite dominating, a terrific save from Fraser Forster was required to stop the visitors taking the lead. Iheanacho got the better of Virgil van Dijk before cutting it back for Raheem Sterling, but Forster did superbly to beat away his England teammate’s effort.
The deadlock would soon be broken however, and it was Saints who deservedly took the lead. Martina’s ball over the top was hooked back by Tadić, and Long was on hand to prod the ball through the legs of Hart.
Tadić was at the heart of everything for Saints, and he grabbed his second assist of the afternoon three minutes later as the hosts made it two-nil.
The Serbian threaded the ball through the City defence for the onrushing Mané, who confidently converted for his third goal in as many games.
Saints had been superb, but their lead was halved just before the break, as Iheanacho headed home from close range following a dangerous cross into the box from Samir Nasri.
The first real chance of the second half produced the game’s fourth goal of the game. Van Dijk’s header, from a Steven Davis corner, was superbly saved by Hart, but Mané was in the right place to slam home the loose ball after it came back off the crossbar.
Van Dijk was then denied again by Hart, as this time the big defender produced an audacious overhead kick that was tipped over by the visiting goalkeeper.
But the fourth arrived soon after, as Mané grabbed the second hat-trick of his Saints career. Again Tadić was the architect, as he played in the winger, who showed real composure to slip the ball beyond Hart.
For the second game in a row, Saints had scored four – and they wanted more – but it was City who grabbed a lifeline with just over ten minutes remaining. Iheanacho found plenty of space on the edge of the box, and curled a brilliant shot beyond Forster for his second goal of the afternoon.
That was to be the last big moment of an enthralling encounter, as Saints made it back-to-back 4-2 wins to move back up to seventh in the Barclays Premier League.
Southampton: Fraser Forster, Cuco Martina, José Fonte (c), Virgil van Dijk, Ryan Bertrand, Victor Wanyama, Jordy Clasie (Oriol Romeu 59), Sadio Mané, Steven Davis (James Ward-Prowse 73), Dušan Tadić (Jay Rodriguez 87), Shane Long.
Unused substitutes: Maarten Stekelenburg (GK), Cédric, Maya Yoshida, Charlie Austin.
Goals: Long (25), Mané (28, 57 & 68)
Booked: Clasie (30), Tadić (54)
Manchester City: Joe Hart (c), Pablo Zabaleta, Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolás Otamendi, Aleksandar Kolarov, Fernandinho (Martin Demichelis 59), Fabian Delph (Jesús Navas 64), Sami Nasri, Raheem Sterling, Kelechi Iheanacho, Wifried Bony.
Unused substitutes: Willy Caballero (GK), Bacary Sagna, Fernando, Sergio Agüero, Gaël Clichy.
Goals: Iheanacho (44 & 78)
Booked: Fernandinho (20)
Referee: Andre Marriner