Southampton 2 - 1 Chelsea

Rafael Benitez saw his hopes of steering Chelsea back into the Champions League suffer a serious blow as Southampton claimed another prize Barclays Premier League scalp.

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Southampton victory thanks to Lambert scorcher

Southampton's Rickie Lambert scores his side's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match at St Mary's Credit: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire

Rickie Lambert celebrated his new Southampton contract in some style today, smashing home an exquisite free-kick to secure all three points from a hard-fought encounter with Chelsea.

Making his 500th career league appearance, the Liverpudlian curled home a spectacular 25-yard free-kick to rack up his 14th league goal of the campaign - more than any other English player in the Premier League.

Southampton's Rickie Lambert (left) celebrates scoring his side's second goal Credit: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire

Saints had gone ahead through another in-form striker Jay Rodriguez, who collected a neat one-two from Steven Davis before slotting home in the 23rd minute.

John Terry was allowed to level unmarked from a corner 10 minutes later, only for Saints to hit back immediately through Lambert's fine strike.

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