Long gives Southampton 2-0 win over Leicester
Southampton, England: Two goals in five minutes from Shane Long earned Southampton a hard-fought 2-0 victory against Leicester at St. Mary's in the Premier League on Saturday, keeping the south coast club second in the table after its impressive start to the season.
Long was a second-half substitute for Sadio Mane in the 68th minute, and broke through a disciplined Leicester defense seven minutes later that until then had nullified Southampton's trademark attacks through the middle of the pitch by setting up with a narrow backline.
"It was difficult against a team who had very good organization in defense," Southampton manager Ronald Koeman said, adding that it was a tough decision to replace Long with Mane in the starting lineup. "Sometimes Shane is not happy, sometimes Sadio is not happy. It is a good reason to not be happy. Shane made the difference in the second half."
Leicester's tactics meant Koeman's team struggled to find any cohesion in the opening 45 minutes. Mane went closest to scoring on 35, swiping a shot over the bar from a tight angle and seven minutes into the second had a goal correctly ruled out for offside, before Koeman substituted him for Long in the 68th.
Mane had looked most likely to forge an opening while Long entered the game having not scored a Premier League goal for Southampton since his offseason transfer from West Bromwich Albion.
But the Ireland striker rewarded his manager with an assured finish on 75. Graziano Pelle chested down a cross from the right and pushed it into the path of Long, who guided his shot around Kasper Schmeichel with a low, left footed drive.
He secured victory in the 80th, beating Schmeichel one-on-one after Victor Wanyama picked him out with a ball over the top of Leicester's defense.