Leeds secures top-half finish in EPL by beating Southampton

SOUTHAMPTON, England — Leeds struck twice late in the game to secure a hard-fought 2-0 win over Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium on Tuesday and guarantee a top-half finish in the Premier League.

Patrick Bamford ran onto Rodrigo’s pass and poked the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to give Leeds a 73rd-minute lead.

It was Bamford’s 16th goal of the season and does no harm to his chances of getting in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the European Championship.

Substitute Tyler Roberts then sealed victory in the fifth minute of stoppage time when he rolled the ball into the back of the net after Bamford’s shot had been saved.

The victory saw Leeds move above Arsenal and Everton, who both play on Wednesday, and into eighth place. In its first season back in the top division since 2004, Leeds cannot finish lower than 10th.

The result also brought an end to Southampton’s run of good home form, which saw the team score a total of six goals in wins over Crystal Palace and Fulham.

A marching band welcomed fans into the stadium as torrential rain turned to sunshine in time for kickoff.

For the first time since December 19, Southampton fans were able to watch their side play in person. Around 8,000 fans were in attendance, and a few boos rang out among some sections of the Saints faithful before kickoff when the players and officials took a knee.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports