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Pierre-Emile Højbjerg fires Southampton to vital win over Brighton

Southampton climbed closer to safety thanks to their third win in four matches, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg securing a deserved victory with a second-half strike on the counter. The win puts Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side level on points with Brighton, who, in addition to trying to figure out a way to get past Manchester City in next week’s FA Cup semi-final, must be wary of slipping into bottom three. The battle to avoid 18th place is getting more fierce.

Coming off the back of a victory over Tottenham Hotspur and knowing their need for points was more pressing, Southampton made by far the better start here. They play as a swarm, buzzing around their opponents in a shape that is as difficult to define as they are to repel. But Chris Hughton’s side have never been ashamed to defend in numbers at home, even against lower-ranked teams, and they gave Southampton little room in which to manoeuvre. The visitors would need to be fast and very precise to break through, and for the first half-hour that looked to be beyond them.

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