- Associated Press - Sunday, October 15, 2017

SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) - Manolo Gabbiadini scored a brace as Southampton twice came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw against Newcastle on Sunday in the English Premier League.

The Italian forward canceled out Isaac Hayden’s strike before leveling from the spot after Ayoze Perez had given Newcastle the lead once more.

With Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino up against his former boss and mentor Rafael Benitez, a cautious affair would have surprised few.

However, Hayden’s strike in the 20th minute ensured an open encounter, as the midfielder exhibited fine technique to direct the bouncing ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

At first, Southampton showed little sign on improving its record of having scored in just one of its nine previous Premier League home games, but Gabbiadini would take matters into his own hands after the break.

Having received a long diagonal pass from Nathan Redmond, he controlled the ball inside the penalty area before cutting back inside and reversing a smart finish inside Fraser Forster’s near post.

But less than two minutes later the visitors retook the lead. Forster was at fault as he palmed Ayoze Perez’s routine effort straight back to him and left space for the striker to squeeze the rebound in at the near post.

Southampton’s other striker, Shane Long, who has now scored just once in his last 25 games for club and country, showed why Pellegrino continues to pick him.

Always a willing runner, Long beat Florian Lejeune to the ball, drawing a late challenge from the Newcastle defender inside the penalty area and giving Gabbiadini the chance to level from the spot.

He took full advantage, smashing his penalty into the corner and giving Newcastle ‘keeper Rob Elliot no chance.

The point moves Southampton back into the top half of the table, a place behind Newcastle, which sits ninth with 11 points.

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