Danny Ings scored a brace as Southampton came from behind to beat Crystal Palace 3-1 in an entertaining game at St Mary's.
The Eagles flew out of the blocks and Christian Benteke once again grabbed himself an early goal, making space for himself inside the box before rifling past Fraser Forster.
But the hosts woke from their slumber and grabbed an equaliser when the returning Ings was at his predatory best, scoring on the turn following Nathan Redmond´s cross.
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Southampton looked certain to take the lead but for two excellent saves from Vicente Guaita, yet it was Palace who had the best chance after Wilfried Zaha won the visitors a penalty after luring Redmond into a foul.
But there was more goalkeeping heroics at the other end as Luka Milivojevic's spot-kick was saved by the diving Forster, sending the teams in level at the break.
This time it was Saints who made the fast start to the second half as Che Adams squeezed in Stuart Armstrong's wayward effort from outside the box.
Palace pressed for a leveller, and Benteke, Zaha and Eberechi Eze each looked lively in front of goal.
But it was Southampton who put the game to bed as Ings latched onto Adams' through ball before stabbing past Guaita for his second of the night.
TALKING POINT - INGS ON SONG
Southampton have been lucky to avoid a relegation battle this season but they've also been terribly unlucky to have lost Ings for such large parts of the campaign.
The striker returned to action tonight with a brace and Saints just look an entirely different outfit with him in the side. It's no stretch to say that, had he been fit for the full season, they could very well have challenged for a European spot.
Danny Ings celebrates scoring for Southampton
Image credit: Eurosport
MAN OF THE MATCH - DANNY INGS
What a predator he is and it's no surprise he's turning heads this transfer window. Back from injury and back among the goals. There are few better inside the box.
Crystal Palace: Guaita 7, Ward 6, Kouyate 6, Dann 7, Mitchell 5, Milivojevic 4, Eze 6, Ayew 3, Riedewald 6, Benteke 7, Zaha 6. Subs. Batshuayi 5, Schlupp 5, Mateta n/a.
Southampton: Forster 7, Walker-Peters 7, Bednarek 6, Vestergaard 6, Stephens 7, Ward-Prowse 7, Armstrong 6, Redmond 7, Minamino 7, Ings 8, Adams 7. Subs. Salisu 7, Obafemi 6,
2´- GOAL! SOUTHAMPTON 0-1 PALACE (Benteke). He has another early goal! Benteke uses all his strength in the box to chest into space before hammering in the corner. He loves a goal against the Saints and Palace are once again red hot from the whistle.
19´- GOAL! SOUTHAMPTON 1 PALACE 1 (Ings). Ings is back! Redmond plays a half-decent ball into the box but it´s super control from Ings to bring the ball down, turn and strike into the corner. We´re back level!
40´- PENALTY TO PALACE! Palace have a penalty against the run of play!Zaha is swarmed upon in the box and Redmond brings him down! It looks a nailed on pen and the Eagles can go ahead once more!
42´- MISSED PENALTY! FORSTER DIVES TO HIS LEFT TO SAVE FROM MILIVOJEVIC! DRAMAAAAAAA!
48´- GOAL! SOUTHAMPTON 2 PALACE 1 (Adams). Southampton are in front! Ward-Prowse picks out Armstrong on the edge of the box who rifles a deadly ball into the danger zone. There are red shirts queuing up to knock it in and Adams is there to squeeze it into the net.
75´- GOAL! SOUTHAMPTON 3 PALACE 1 (Ings). Predator. Adams puts a ball forward and Ings times his run absolutely perfectly before stabbing past the goalie. That´s his last act of the half as he is replaced by Obafemi. Classy.
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