PREM: Sunderland 0-4 Southampton


Manolo Gabbiadini celebrates scoring one of his two goals for Southampton

Manolo Gabbiadini scored two first-half goals as Southampton thrashed relegation-threatened Sunderland 4-0 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.


The January signing from Napoli netted a controversial opener with the aid of his upper arm in the 30th minute before firing a brilliant second past Vito Mannone on the stroke of half-time to put the visitors in control at the break.

Jason Denayer turned home Ryan Bertrand's low cross in the 88th minute and Shane Long grabbed Saints' fourth in stoppage time (90+2) to secure their first away win since mid-December.

The victory sets Southampton up for their EFL Cup final against Man Utd on February 26, live on Sky Sports, and matches their best ever top-flight away win. But the heavy defeat leaves Sunderland rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table, two points from safety.

Having beat Crystal Palace 4-0 last weekend to bolster hopes of a survival bid, David Moyes' side were comfortably second best upon their return to the Stadium of Light. Adnan Januzaj and John O'Shea overcame knocks suffered at Selhurst Park to start for the hosts, who made just one change, bringing Darron Gibson in for the injured Jack Rodwell.

Southampton, who had lost six of their last seven league matches coming into the fixture, made two alterations from their disappointing home defeat to West Ham, restoring Nathan Redmond and Dusan Tadic to the starting XI.

Claude Puel's side started the game on the back foot, with Bryan Oviedo lively down Sunderland's left and Januzaj bright through the middle. But Sunderland failed to test Fraser Forster and Southampton made them pay, with the excellent Gabbiadini - who scored on debut against West Ham - poaching two goals before the interval.

The first was fortunate as Bertrand's superb cross deflected off the Italian's elbow before flashing past Mannone. But his second was superb, showcasing the qualities that led Southampton to spend £17m to bring him to the Premier League from Serie A.

He received a sharp pass from Tadic and turned the leaden-footed Lamine Kone inside-out before clinically firing into the far corner. Tadic, playing behind the Italy international, caused Sunderland problems throughout, with the two also linking up to fashion a chance for Cedric, only for the right-back to slice wide.

Moyes changed his system at half-time, introducing Steven Pienaar and Fabio Borini and moving to a back four anchored by Kone and Denayer. But it did little to halt Southampton's momentum as Mannone continued to be the busier of the two goalkeepers, making smart saves from Redmond and Tadic, while James Ward-Prowse nodded wide when well placed eight yards out.

The energetic Bertrand helped Southampton wrap up the victory, bursting down the left before his low centre was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Denayer. And, with the Stadium of Light emptying, Sunderland found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-0 scoreline when substitute Long swept home from Ward-Prowse's pass.

It capped a disastrous defensive performance from Sunderland, who had kept back-to-back clean sheets against Tottenham and Palace. They must pick themselves up to face Everton in two weeks' time, while Southampton have 15 days to prepare for an EFL Cup final date with Manchester United.


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