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Result: Saints move closer to PL survival

Result: Saints move closer to PL survival
© Reuters
Saints captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg earned the visitors victory.

Southampton took a significant step towards Premier League survival with a 1-0 win which increases the relegation concerns of south coast rivals Brighton.

Saints captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg earned the visitors victory at the Amex Stadium by scoring his first goal since December early in the second half.

Albion almost levelled when right-back Martin Montoya crashed a shot against the crossbar from the edge of the box with 18 minutes to go but Chris Hughton's side, who grabbed a last-gasp equaliser at St Mary's in September, were unable to salvage a draw.

The result moves Saints level on 33 points with the Seagulls, five above the drop zone ahead of 18th-placed Cardiff's clash with Chelsea on Sunday.

Southampton were able to call on the services of top scorer Danny Ings for the first time in almost two months following his recovery from a hamstring problem.

The on-loan Liverpool man, who has eight goals in all competitions this term, was left glaring at referee Michael Oliver in the 23rd minute after going down in the box under a challenge from Montoya while trying to get on the end of James Ward-Prowse's cross from the right.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Southampton – Premier League – AMEX Stadium
Southampton's Danny Ings, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Brighton's Dale Stephens battle for the ball (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Due to FA Cup fixtures and an international break, the visitors had not played since upsetting Tottenham at St Mary's three weeks ago.

They showed more attacking intent than their opponents during an uneventful and edgy opening period which suggested both sides were more concerned with not losing.

Ings was later denied by a superb block from Bernardo having found space in Albion's 18-yard area, while Southampton winger Nathan Redmond had earlier fired a stinging shot straight at Brighton goalkeeper Mathew Ryan from a tight angle.

With next Saturday's Wembley FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City on the horizon, Albion boss Hughton has been keen to stress that top-flight safety remains the priority.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Southampton – Premier League – AMEX Stadium
Premier League survival remains Brighton boss Chris Hughton's top priority (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Once again missing the creative talents of injured 2017/18 player of the season Pascal Gross, the Seagulls struggled to carve out opportunities as they went in search of a third successive league win.

And they could have few complaints about conceding eight minutes after the restart.

Redmond's driving run and perfectly-weighted pass slipped Hojbjerg in on goal and he produced a composed poke past Ryan and into the bottom right corner in front of the sold-out away end.

Falling behind briefly sparked Brighton into life, culminating in Anthony Knockaert sending a powerful drive past the left post.

But the home side could easily have gone further behind moments later as Lewis Dunk blocked Ryan Bertrand's low effort inside the six-yard box with Redmond lurking for a tap-in.

Brighton were inches away from an equaliser in the 72nd minute when Spaniard Montoya, whose last goal came for Valencia in January 2017, rattled the woodwork from the edge of the box.

The home fans were then unhappy with match official Oliver when Davy Propper went to ground in the box following a nudge from Denmark midfielder Hojbjerg after Saints keeper Angus Gunn failed to hold a ball into the box.

Southampton were pinned back for the majority of the nervy closing stages, with Seagulls substitute Jurgen Locadia finally producing the hosts' first attempt on target six minutes from time.

Despite the heavy pressure, Ralph Hasenhuttl's men doggedly held on for a vital three points to end a run of three successive Premier League draws between the two clubs.

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Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse celebrates after scoring against Fulham in the Premier League on February 27, 2019
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States29352791
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee16222058
Great BritainGreat Britain16181852
Today's Olympic highlights header

Friday's key events

· Great Britain's women aim to secure their place on the podium as they face India in the bronze medal match (2.30am)
· Netherlands - silver medallists five years ago - and Argentina battle for the gold medal in the women's final (11am)

· The women's gold medal will be decided as Australia and USA go head to head (3.30am)

· Lauren Price will be looking to add to Team GB's success in the ring when she takes on Nouchka Fontijn of Netherlands in the women's middleweight semi-final (6am)

· Tom Daley already has one Olympic gold to his name in Tokyo, and he begins his bid for second in the men's 10m platform. Teammate Noah Williams is also involved in the preliminary round (7am)

· Jason Kenny's reign as sprint king may be over, but Jack Carlin looked strong in his bid to succeed his compatriot. He takes on Harrie Lavreysen in his sprint semi-final (8.10am), with the final taking place later in the day (10.35am)
· The women's madison makes its Olympic debut at the velodrome as Team GB duo Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny look to add another medal to their collections (9.15am)

· Hosts Japan will look to get themselves on the podium as they face Mexico in the men's bronze medal match (10am)
· The women's champions will be crowned as both Sweden and Canada aim to win Olympic gold for the very first time (1pm)

· The men's 5000m final includes Great Britain's Andrew Butchart, but most eyes will be on Ugandan world record holder Joshua Cheptegei (1pm)
· Team GB's Jodie Williams will hope to get on the podium in the women's 400m final, but defending champ Shaunae Miller-Uibo is favourite for gold while Stephenie Ann McPherson should challenge and Allyson Felix is bidding to become the most decorated female track and field athlete of all time (1.35pm)
· Netherlands' Sifan Hassan takes on leg two of her ambitious attempt at a Tokyo treble in a women's 1500m final which also includes Great Britain's Laura Muir and Faith Kipyegon of Kenya (1.50pm)
· A star-studded women's 4x100m relay final will see a Team GB quartet including Dina Asher-Smith look to upset defending champions USA and favourites Jamaica, who boast Elaine Thompson-Herah as she goes for her third gold of the Games (2.30pm)
· Great Britain and Jamaica will also be going for gold in the men's 4x100m relay final, and their medal hopes have been boosted by USA's failure to qualify (2.50pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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