Mistakes by Joe Hart and Gareth Barry gave Manchester City's Premier League title hopes a potentially decisive blow as Southampton secured their first win under manager Mauricio Pochettino in style.
It was a an end-to-end encounter this evening, with Saints dominating the proceedings early on and netting a seventh-minute opener when Jason Puncheon burst down the right flank and played through the unmarked Jay Rodriguez. Hart managed to deny the winger but the ball fell kindly for Puncheon, who slotted home calmly in front of the Northam End.
City were struggling to deal with Southampton's attacking intent in an opening 15 minutes in which a tame Sergio Aguero effort was all they had to show for their efforts. They eventually began to settle but were soon rocked by a second Southampton goal in the 22nd minute. Excellent team interplay put through Rickie Lambert, whose fierce drive squirmed through the Hart's grasp, allowing Steven Davis to bundle home.
Edin Dzeko reduced the deficit as half-time approached. The Bosnian striker got himself in the way of a Saints corner before bursting up the field and tucking home a Zabaleta cross. A two-goal lead could have been restored on the stroke of half-time, however, had referee Martin Atkinson not waved away Rodriguez's penalty appeals.
Barry nets own goal after the break
That was soon forgotten, though, as Barry passed into his own goal unchallenged to put Saints on course for a first win since Pochettino replaced Nigel Adkins at the helm. After Puncheon hammered over moments into the second half, the winger could then not quite latch onto a Lambert pullback, which Barry inexplicably passed into his own goal.
Gael Clichy was booked soon after as City's frustrations became evident, with Saints pushing for a fourth. The visitors were having to defend with all they had and hope for a chance on the counter, with Artur Boruc reacting well to palm away an Aguero strike wide when they did voyage forward.
James Milner, on moments earlier for Samir Nasri, shot wide from the resulting corner but City were soon back on the defence. Toure was booked for a foul on substitute Adam Lallana soon after, before Daniel Fox limped off to be replaced by Frazer Richardson.
Aleksandar Kolarov and Maicon were City's final introductions, with the latter soon denied from close range by Boruc. James Ward-Prowse replaced Davis for what would be a nervy final ten minutes in which City were kept at bay, meaning United could go 12 points clear at the top should they beat Everton tomorrow.