Fulham defeated Southampton 2-0 at St. Mary’s, a result that sealed the Saint’s relegation from the Premier League.
Mitrovic, returning from an eight-match ban, scored as a substitute and helped secure the victory along with a goal from Carlos Vinicius.
The loss marked Southampton’s 24th defeat of the season, a club record and with only two games left, the team is now eight points away from the safety.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, a Saints supporter was among the attendees and witnessed the end of the team’s 11-season stint in the top flight.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak watched a disappointing display from a Saints’ team that lacked confidence, ideas, and urgency. The team’s miserable campaign, which saw three managers and only two home league wins, continued as they produced another weak performance.
Carlos Vinicius scored the first goal in the 48th minute, before Mitrovic added another goal to seal Southampton’s fate in the Sky Bet Championship.
The full-time whistle was met with boos and chants of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” from home supporters as the Saints suffered a 2-0 defeat to Fulham.
Southampton entered the match in a precarious position, needing to win all three of their remaining fixtures to stand any chance of avoiding relegation after a devastating 4-3 loss to Nottingham Forest just four days earlier.
The sight of empty red seats suggested that many Southampton fans had already accepted the team’s fate. However, the reduced crowd was slightly boosted by the presence of local politician Rishi Sunak, who was born in Southampton.
Ddespite Fulham dominating possession from the begining, the first half was forgettable with few chances for either side. Brazilian forward Carlos Vinicius saw a close-range effort blocked, while Southampton striker Paul Onuachu fired tamely at Bernd Leno following a mistake from Issa Diop.
Fulahm’s appeal for a penalty in the second half were waved away after Harry Wilson’s cross struck the arm of Saints’ defender Lyanco. The visitors protested the decison, but referee Thomas Bramal waved away their appeals.
Willian came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 41st minute but his volley was headed off the line by Lyanco, who did well to clear the ball following a fine pass from Harry Wilson and a ball across the box by Harrison Reed.
The second half started with increased urgency from both teams, and Carlos Alcaraz briefly thought he had put Southampton ahead with a confident, slotted finish, but the goal was ruled offside. The Cottagers took advantage of the disappointment to score their first goal of the match.
Vinicius tapped in a simple goal from close range after Reed delivered the ball across the goalmouth following a crunching, sliding challenge on Lyanco. The away support celebrated the goal with the long-awaited return of Aleksandar Mitrovic, whose 25-minute appearance was marked by the unfurling of several Serbian flags in the stands.
And he did not waste any time making an impact and helped secure Fulham’s victory.
Wilson continued to trouble the Saints and played a crucial role in Mitrovic’s goal. He produced an excellent cross from the right, which Mitrovic expertly headed past goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to seal the win.
That was Fulham’s 15th win of the Premier League campaing, and their first away win against Southampton since 1935, propelling them to ninth place in the league.
Southampton were left to face the reality of their relagation to the second tier for the first time since the 2011-12 season. They will have to prepare for a summer of transition and uncertainty with just two games remaining.