Danny Ings and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg scored as Southampton secured their first win of the Premier League season with victory at Crystal Palace.
Ings, signed on loan from Liverpool in the summer, confidently netted his second goal of the campaign after being set up by Cedric Soares.
Substitute Charlie Austin, who scored the Saints’ Carabao Cup winner against Brighton in midweek, had the chance to double the lead on 65 minutes but his weak penalty – after Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s handball – was saved by Wayne Hennessey.
Hojbjerg, who was sent off in the defeat by Leicester last weekend, added the second on the break in stoppage time after the visitors had to soak up concerted pressure in the closing stages.
Prior to Austin’s penalty miss, James McArthur had gone close to equalising for the hosts when his curling effort struck the crossbar.
At the other end, the brilliant Alex McCarthy – called up to the England squad this week – denied Palace striker Christian Benteke from close range after an earlier save from Luka Milivojevic.
Saints’ victory was Mark Hughes’ first at Selhurst Park in six attempts as a Premier League manager.
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Relief for Hughes as Saints get a win
Southampton arrived at Selhurst Park having made a slow start to the season – a goalless draw with Burnley preceding consecutive defeats by Everton and Leicester.
And, though there is perhaps no immediate concern, a team that ended last season hovering precariously above the relegation zone needs to start showing signs of progress.
Buoyed by their midweek win, Hughes’ side took control of a first half that lacked any real quality, though Hennessey was alert on the occasions the energetic Ings and Long did find a way through a well-drilled defence.
Saints returned from the interval with confidence, and Ings’ well-executed goal looked to have set the tone for the visitors, who pressed on in pursuit of a second.
But Austin’s penalty miss gave Palace momentum and will have caused concern for Hughes, whose side have lost 24 points from winning positions since the start of the 2017-18 season.
Things were different this time, though, and Saints’ players put their bodies on the line to keep the hosts out, before Hojbjerg sealed a win that bring Hughes great relief.