SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – Maya Yoshida played his 100th game in the English Premier League on Saturday during Southampton’s scoreless home draw with Hull City, winning a late penalty which was not converted.
He played the full 90 minutes for the 16th straight league game and looked to have handed his team three points when he was brought down in the penalty area by Alfred N’Diaye in second-half stoppage time, but Dusan Tadic was denied by Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic.
“It (100 games) has been the target of mine for this season,” said 28-year-old Yoshida, who joined from Dutch side VVV Venlo in the summer of 2012 and has finally established himself at the heart of the Saints’ defense this season.
Marco Silva has now guided Hull to 21 points from his 15 league games since taking charge, with the team one place and three points above the relegation zone. Southampton is ninth.
Elsewhere, Leicester’s Shinji Okazaki set up a goal for the first time in the league in the Foxes’ 1-0 away win at West Brom, latching onto a loose back pass in the opposition half before threading through the ball for Jamie Vardy to slot home the winner in the 43rd minute.
“I’m relieved … there were chances before where I could have got them but it’s finally in the book, which is always better,” said Okazaki, who scored five goals in the Foxes’ shock run to their maiden league title last term and twice this season.
“Vardy was calling and that was the only place I had my eyes on to pass, not to his feet but a little ahead of him, which worked out well.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland’s 10-season stay in the Premier League is over. The northeast side’s relegation was confirmed with four games remaining after losing to Bournemouth 1-0, Joshua King scoring for Bournemouth in the 88th minute to end David Moyes’ faint hopes of keeping Sunderland in the top flight.
American owner Ellis Short doesn’t mask the problems engulfing the club, saying “significant work” is now required to secure an instant return to the Premier League.
“I acknowledge that during my ownership mistakes have been made, particularly in the area of player recruitment, and as a result we have found ourselves struggling to survive in recent seasons,” Short said. “We had massive disruption during the summer transfer window and an unprecedented number of injuries throughout the season. These are difficulties which we have been unable to overcome and we are paying the price for that now.”
Short expressed “sadness, disappointment, anger and frustration.” Little wonder when the club also recorded a loss of £33 million ($43 million) in the last financial year, with a debt of £110 million ($142 million).
“We need to improve, both on and off the field,” Short said, “and despite the bitter disappointment of today, there is a strong determination to do so throughout the club.”
Sunderland is stranded at the bottom of the standings, an impossible 13 points adrift of safety, and fans vented their frustration at David Moyes, demanding the manager’s firing.
“I hoped it would never come around at any time but I’m disappointed for the supporters, disappointed that we couldn’t give them more,” the former Manchester United and Everton manager said. “They come here in their thousands week in, week out. They travel in their thousands as well.
“I know that cash isn’t easy up this part, so I appreciate every penny they put into the club by watching the team, so my thoughts are with them. I’m just sorry that we weren’t able to do a better job.”
In Burnley’s 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace, Burnley’s relegation fears were eased with its first away win of the Premier League season secured by goals from Ashley Barnes and Andre Gray. It lifted Burnley above Palace and eight points clear of danger.
Stoke and West Ham played to a 0-0 draw.