Dusan Tadic scores twice as Southampton rediscover their form …

Southampton picked up their first Premier League win of the season as a Dusan Tadic brace inspired them to victory over 10-man Norwich.

Having been knocked out of Europe by Danish champions FC Midtjylland on Thursday night, Ronald Koeman’s side could turn their full attention back to a slow start to their domestic campaign.

And, after Norwich had Steven Whittaker sent off for two bookings in a little over three minutes, Southampton whirred into life and eventually ran out 3-0 winners at St Mary’s.

Plenty of talk before the game surrounded the continued absence of Victor Wanyama after Koeman said the midfielder was not “mentally and physically good enough to play” amid reported interest from Tottenham – but it was fit-again Sadio Mane, himself a player in demand, who shone alongside Tadic.

Graziano Pelle opened the scoring in first-half injury time as Mane fed the ball into his path and he also provided the assist for Tadic to double their lead; the game was well and truly over when Tadic turned home from close range moments later.

Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy was tested in just the second minute with a curling James Ward-Prowse free-kick.

But it was Norwich who passed up the best chance of the opening 20 minutes as Cameron Jerome could not make good enough contact with the ball and headed tamely wide.

Whittaker picked up his first booking for needlessly grabbing Matt Targett and not allowing him to take a quick thrown-in before the hosts came close again as Pelle knocked down a cross into the path of Tadic but the Serbia international dragged his shot just wide.

And Whittaker’s afternoon was over shortly afterwards as he picked up a second booking for holding Tadic and preventing him latching onto a long ball, with Neil reacting by bringing on Andre Wisdom in place of Wes Hoolahan.

Despite introducing another defender from the bench, Neil still saw his side lose the lead in first-half stoppage time as Jonny Howson was caught napping by Ward-Prowse.

He fed Mane, who rolled the ball into Pelle’s path with the Italy international snaffling the chance from close range for his second league goal of the season.

And the same pair nearly linked up for a second on the stroke of half-time but this time Mane’s cross was just out of reach for Pelle.

It was Mane again causing the problems as a Ruddy miscue saw the ball end up at the Senegal international’s feet before he drew another smart save from the Canaries’ stopper.

Half-time substitute Jay Rodriguez was the next man to test Ruddy, who was also equal to his shot as the striker went in search of his first Premier League goal in 17 months.

Ruddy would have been powerless to prevent Pelle adding his second after Mane teed up the busy striker, whose resulting strike from the edge of the box flashed narrowly wide.

The hosts had been threatening a second and it duly arrived with 25 minutes remaining as Tadic, another player showing the form of last season, steered home Mane’s cross from 12 yards.

Tadic needed just three minutes to further extend Southampton’s lead as Pelle’s strong header from Cedric Soares’ cross was kept out by Ruddy, only for the winger to turn home the rebound.

TWEET OF THE MATCH

“Finally the season has started for @SouthamptonFC. And already ahead of Chelsea” – former Saints striker @Egilostenstad

PLAYER RATINGS

Southampton

Maarten Stekelenburg 6 (out of 10)

Cedric Soares 7

Maya Yoshida 7

Jose Fonte 7

Matt Targett 7

Steven Davis 6

Oriol Romeu 7

Dusan Tadic 9

James Ward-Prowse 7

Sadio Mane 9

Graziano Pelle 8

Substitutes:

Jay Rodriguez 7

Cuco Martina 6

Juanmi 6

Norwich

John Ruddy 7

Steven Whittaker 3

Russell Martin 5

Sebastien Bassong 5

Robbie Brady 5

Nathan Redmond 6

Graham Dorrans 5

Alex Tettey 5

Jonathan Howson 5

Wes Hoolahan 5

Cameron Jerome 6

Substitutes:

Andre Wisdom 5

Bradley Johnson 5

Gary Hooper 5

STAR PLAYER

Sadio Mane: Tadic may have scored twice but Mane was at his best as the Senegal international showed why the likes of Manchester United have registered an interest. He created the two opening goals and was a constant thorn in the side of the Norwich defence, showing why Ronald Koeman remains adamant he will not be selling the 23-year-old before Tuesday’s transfer deadline.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

The first goal.

Graziano Pelle’s breakthrough on the stroke of half-time changed the mood around St Mary’s – which had been fairly placid until that point. It also seemed to give the players belief and the second-half display was much more free-flowing courtesy of the pressure being lifted by Pelle’s fourth of the season.

VIEW FROM BENCH

Koeman will be much happier now his side have the monkey of a first Premier League win off their back, with that maiden victory coming in some style ahead of the international break. For Alex Neil, the Norwich boss has tasted away defeat for the first time since taking the job at Carrow Road in January and he would have felt let down by fellow Scot Whittaker after his early sending off gave the Canaries a mountain to climb.

MOAN OF THE MATCH

What was Whittaker thinking as he plunged his side into all sorts of trouble with his first-half dismissal?

The full-back picked up his first yellow card for a nonsensical decision to hold on to Targett to prevent a quick throw-in and that came back to bite him just three minutes later when he tugged back Tadic to see red.

WHO’S UP NEXT?

West Brom v Southampton (Premier League, Saturday, September 12)

Norwich v Bournemouth (Premier League, Saturday, September 12)

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Dusan Tadic scores twice as Southampton rediscover their form …

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