Middlesbrough - Jay Rodriguez and Nathan Redmond scored as
Southampton defeated relegated Middlesbrough 2-1 on Saturday to snap a run of
five Premier League matches without a win.
One-time England international Rodriguez notched his fourth
goal of the season to give the Saints the lead at the Riverside Stadium on 42
Nathan Redmond came on at half-time and struck a second for
Southampton before Shane Long fired over from the spot after winning the
visitors a penalty.
Patrick Bamford pulled one back for Boro with his first goal
in over two years, but Claude Puel's side held on to climb up one spot to
Frenchman Puel handed a debut to former Barcelona and
Juventus defender Martin Caceres, while Jeremy Pied made his first start after
recovering from a long-term knee injury.
England manager Gareth Southgate was in the crowd as he
returned to his former club ahead of next month's World Cup qualifier against
Scotland, perhaps casting an eye over Boro centre-back Ben Gibson.
Bamford, who rejoined Boro on a permanent deal from Chelsea
in January, tested Saints goalkeeper Fraser Forster with a hopeful drive on 25
minutes as the game was slow to spark into life.
George Friend then nodded wide from a corner, but
Southampton forged ahead just before the break when Long skipped down the right
and cut the ball back for Rodriguez to turn beyond Brad Guzan.
Slack Boro defending allowed Redmond, another player hoping
to impress Southgate, to compound their problems on 57 minutes as the
substitute was afforded far too much space to curl superbly into the top
Irishman Long was sent sprawling by Guzan soon after, but
the striker blazed his penalty over via the top of the crossbar.
Bamford handed Boro a lifeline when he headed in a Viktor Fischer corner with 18 minutes to play, but Forster produced a fine save in the dying stages to deny Calum Chambers an equaliser.