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Tadic stars in Saints win

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 23-04-2016 skysports.com

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Southampton boosted their top six hopes with a 4-2 win at already-relegated Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday. 

Saints were ahead on 15 minutes through Shane Long's close-range header, before Long put the ball on a plate for Dusan Tadic to make it 2-0 with six minutes to go in the first half.

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Ashley Westwood gave Villa a lifeline just before the break with a cool finish from inside the area,  but Tadic added Saints' third with 20 minutes remaining with a deflected effort from just outside the area.

Westwood halved the deficit once again with a low effort into the bottom corner from 15 yards to set up a nervous ending, but substitute Sadio Mane's header made it four in stoppage time.

The result leaves Southampton in eighth, two points off sixth-placed West Ham.

Villa made two changes from the side that lost 1-0 at Manchester United last Saturday, while Saints made four and gave a start to striker Jay Rodriguez, his first in the Premier League since September.

It was Long, another of those replacements, who caused the problems early on, hitting the bar from 10 yards after getting the better of Joleon Lescott, who bore the brunt of the Villa fans' anger.

"You're not fit to wear the shirt" rang out at Villa Park, and the home fans soon saw their side go one down thanks to former West Brom striker Long, who headed home unmarked from six yards after Ryan Bertrand's superb left-wing ball.

Villa went close at the other end through Leandro Bacuna, who headed wide from Westwood's cross from the right, before Saints hit the woodwork again through Virgil van Dijk after the Dutchman cut inside in the area and drilled an effort towards the near post.

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Westwood's close-range effort fell into the grateful hands of Fraser Forster moments later, but it was 2-0 to Southampton on 39 minutes thanks to Tadic's simple finish.

Long looked to round Brad Guzan after easily beating Lescott with pace, and despite the goalkeeper getting a touch on the ball, the Irishman composed himself to centre for Tadic, who slotted past Lescott on the line.

Villa halved the deficit on the stroke of half-time through Westwood, whose half-volley from 12 yards found the bottom left corner after the ball broke to him kindly from the left.

Guzan stood tall to deny Long just before the hour mark after Tadic's superb through ball, and it was the Serbian midfielder who scores Saints' third with a low deflected effort off the boot of Westwood from just outside the area.

Long poked the ball over the bar from close range with 10 minutes remaining after Guzan's fumble in the area, but Villa produced a nervous finish after Westwood's fine finish into the bottom right corner from 15 yards with five minutes remaining.

But Tadic worked his magic again at the other end as Saints killed the game in injury time, laying the ball off for Cedric Soares on the right byline, before his lofted ball was headed into the bottom corner by Mane.

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