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Southampton 8 Sunderland 0: Graziano Pelle scores twice in Saints romp

Southampton maintained their vertiginous position in the league table after Sunderland’s defence imploded on the South Coast, scoring two own goals on their way to an ignominious defeat.Mauricio Pochettino failed to mastermind victory against the Mackems in four attempts last season but the Saints were three goals ahead inside 40 minutes at St Mary’s, en route to a biggest ever Premier League victory.Goals have been Sunderland’s problem this season but Santiago Vergini showed them the way here with an unstoppable volley into the bottom corner. Unfortunately it was into his own net in an inexplicable moment of rashness from the Argentinian after Morgan Schneiderlin pressured. “Sign him up” sang the Saints.Man of the moment Graziano Pelle soon added a second after scoring on his Italy debut in midweek. The former ballroom dancing champion needed no fleet footwork to tap in Steven Davis’s cross after more cataclysmic defending from the visitors.Sebastian Larsson sought swift respite as he bent a free-kick around the wall only to find Fraser Forster well-placed to beat it away.Having started slowly, Southampton began to dominate with Dusan Tadic again impressive as orchestrator. Hardly a game passes without the midfielder providing a goal or an assist; he did both here, playing provider on five occasions.The Serbian, who featured in his country’s controversial fixture against Albania in Belgrade this week, teased his way down the left side and teed up Jack Cork who finished unconvincingly from close range via Vito Mannone.Moments before, Sunderland had reason to feel aggrieved after Steven Fletcher was upended by Forster when clean through. A penalty and red card looked justified, only a free-kick was given.An incensed Poyet replaced the tentative Wes Brown at half-time but the calamitous Vergini remained. He had a clear opportunity to register at the right end but headed wastefully over from Fletcher’s flick-on. Tadic remained a danger and should have scored after Schneiderlin and then Long played him in. The Serbian was too casual, allowing Van Aanholt the time to block on the line.It didn’t matter. The fourth soon came, again via a Sunderland boot. This time Tadic combined with Bertrand to present Pelle with a chance to shoot, which he duly took. His drive was well saved by Mannone who pushed it onto the foot of the hapless Liam Bridcutt to take it over the line.Still the Saints weren’t finished. Tadic and Pelle, who seem to have an almost telepathic understanding, combined for the latter to finish smartly across goal. It’s been quite a week for the Italian.Tadic did get the goal his scintillating display deserved as he smartly converted Mannone’s awful attempted clearance before adding his fourth assist, this time for the onrushing Wanyama to smash home.Goal No 8 was a club first for Senegalese forward Sadio Mane. His rapidity took him beyond Sunderland’s bemused defenders to sweep home, the support again coming from Tadic.”Where’s all our players gone?” sung the home faithful, in ironic reference to the summer sales.

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