Thu, May 10, 2018 - Page 16 News List

West Brom relegated after Saints beat Swansea 1-0


Southampton striker Manolo Gabbiadini, center left, celebrates scoring against Swansea City in their English Premier League match on Tuesday in Swansea, Wales.

Photo: AFP

West Bromwich Albion were relegated from the Premier League on Tuesday, after Southampton beat Swansea City 1-0 to leave the Welsh club facing an uphill task to preserve their seven-year stay in the top flight.

Manolo Gabbiadini converted a close-range shot in the 72nd minute, as Southampton moved three points above the drop zone and almost guaranteed their place in the Premier League next season thanks to a superior goal-difference to their rivals.

Swansea stayed third from last — the final relegation place — and now must beat already-relegated Stoke City on the final day of the season on Sunday, while also requiring 17th-placed Huddersfield Town to lose to Chelsea yesterday and Arsenal on Sunday.

“We must try to do our part and see if a miracle can happen,” Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal said. “We had things in our hands and now we don’t. We are depending on others.”

However, the game is up for West Brom, who cannot escape the bottom three heading into the final weekend.

West Brom did well just to survive this long, with relegation looking a certainty for months until Darren Moore took over as caretaker manager early last month as a replacement for the fired Alan Pardew.

Under Moore, West Brom are undefeated in five games and have beaten Manchester United and Newcastle United away and Tottenham Hotspur at home. The side needed a draw between Swansea and Southampton to keep alive their faint hopes, but Gabbiadini put paid to that.

The Italy striker has been used mostly as a substitute and he came off the bench again in the 68th minute against Swansea, with Southampton heading for an unsatisfactory draw.

Four minutes later, Gabbiadini was in the right place at a corner to turn the ball home after Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski pulled off a reflex save from Charlie Austin’s volley.

Southampton host champions Manchester City in their final match and only have to avoid a heavy loss to extend their six-year stint in the Premier League.

“Nine-goal swing,” Austin said. “It can be done, I suppose.”

Southampton manager Mark Hughes celebrated wildly with his players on the field, a release of emotion for a coach who was facing being partly responsible for two clubs getting relegated.

Stoke were in the bottom three when they fired Hughes in January, and he took over at Southampton in March.

“Ever since we took on the challenge, we’ve come in and found a group of guys that needed a bit more direction and belief,” Hughes said. “I thought they were immense tonight.”

The victory was all the sweeter for Southampton after a turbulent buildup to the game that saw the team and coaching staff forced to change hotels at the last minute — meaning they had to stay near Cardiff — and then see their police escort to Swansea’s stadium canceled.

Swansea are in relegation form at the wrong time, having lost their past four games without scoring. They have scored just twice in eight games.

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