Sadio Mane scored a superb hat-trick as vibrant Southampton beat a much-changed Manchester City side 4-2 at St Mary’s.
Manuel Pellegrini made eight alterations to his starting line-up, with one eye on the midweek Champions League semi-final second leg encounter at Real Madrid, but the move backfired as sluggish City were second best throughout the match.
Southampton started very well and, after a long spell of early pressure, Joe Hart got down well to keep Mane’s low drive out.
As Saints continued to press, Hart was forced to tip Dusan Tadic’s tantalising cross away from danger before Shane Long lashed a shot from the edge of the area narrowly wide.
When City responded in the 20th minute, Fraser Forster did well to keep out Raheem Sterling’s close-range effort.
However, five minutes later, Ronald Koeman’s team deservedly moved ahead when Tadic pulled the ball back from the byline and Long was on hand to turn it past Hart.
It was 2-0 in the 28th minute when the outstanding Tadic played in Mane who clipped the ball over Hart and into the back of the net.
Just before half time City were handed a lifeline when Southampton failed to clear their lines and Kelechi Iheanacho headed the ball into the corner of Forster’s goal.
City improved at the start of the second period and Iheanacho was denied an equaliser by Forster’s smart stop.
However, Southampton restored their two-goal advantage in the 57th minute when Mane hooked the ball into the net from close range after Virgil van Dijk’s header had hit the underside of the crossbar.
Van Dijk almost scored with a spectacular overhead kick before Mane made it 4-1 in the 68th minute. Tadic was again the creator, playing in Mane, who was able to slide the ball past Hart to complete his hat-trick.
City pulled a late goal back when Iheanacho clipped a left-footed effort from the edge of the area past Forster but the result leaves Southampton seventh in the Premier League table while City are fourth, four points clear of Manchester United, who have a game in hand on their local rivals.