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SOUTHAMPTON duo Danny Ings and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s respective second-half strikes were enough to see Southampton to victory against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park yesterday.
Former Burnley and Liverpool forward Ings scored just after half-time when Cedric Soares’s hopeful ball caught the Eagles’ backline sleeping. The striker then lost his man and poked it home past an onrushing Wayne Hennessey to give the visitors the lead.
Team news prior to the game shocked many around the ground as Palace star-man Wilfried Zaha was not even named among the substitutes after Roy Hodgson confirmed he had suffered an injury in training the day before the match.
His presence was evidently missed as Jordan Ayew, despite playing well, wasn’t able to provide Palace with the same impetus and quality that the Ivorian brings to the side.
“He’s clearly a very talented boy, leading into the game we obviously talked about his potential and his ability to hurt us,” said Saints boss Mark Hughes when asked on Zaha’s absence.
The killer blow came as Palace were pushing for an equaliser, just as they had done against Liverpool in their previous home match.
Matt Targett’s clever ball through to Hojbjerg was finished well by the Dane — making it three defeats in a row for the south Londoners.
The hosts, while not creating a raft full of chances, were still able to test Alex McCarthy in the Saints’ goal, who would’ve no doubt been buoyed by his recent call-up to the national side.
The England international was on hand to deny a woefully short-on confidence Christian Benteke as the Belgian had his headed effort saved from a few yards out.
Speaking on the record Hodgson’s men have without their main man, the Palace boss was frank and admitted it’s a fact his side have to deal with until they prove otherwise.
“Of course I am aware of it [Palace’s record without Zaha] … until such time that we play a game without Wilf and win, everyone will be quite entitled to bring the record up and remind us of it … because it’s a fact, again he didn’t play today and again we didn’t win.”
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