SOUTHAMPTON, May 16- Southampton’s Sadio Mane scored the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history as the Senegal winger’s astonishing spree condemned dismal Aston Villa to a 6-1 defeat on Saturday.
Mane took just two minutes and 56 seconds to demolish Villa at St Mary’s and surpass the previous record of four minutes and 33 seconds set by Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler against Arsenal in 1994.
The 23-year-old also set a new mark for the quickest post-war English top-flight treble as Villa’s defence parted with alarming ease.
Although Mane made Premier League history, he couldn’t break the record for the fastest ever hat-trick in English football, which was set by James Hayter when he scored three times in two minutes and 20 seconds after coming on as an 84th-minute substitute for Bournemouth in their third-tier match against Wrexham in 2004.
Irish striker Shane Long netted twice after Mane’s treble to leave shell-shocked Villa trailing by five goals only 38 minutes into the match.
Graziano Pelle made it six late on and Southampton’s scintillating display keeps them firmly in the hunt for a place in next season’s Europa League.
Christian Benteke got one back for Villa in first-half stoppage time, but it was no consolation for Tim Sherwood’s players, whose woeful capitulation cost them a chance to guarantee their Premier League survival.
FA Cup finalists Villa remain four points above the bottom three and will have to rely on other results if they are to be certain of staying up before the season’s final round of fixtures next weekend.
Ronald Koeman’s team were on course for their first win in five matches from the moment Mane struck in the 13th minute.
Mane, a £10 million ($15.7m) signing from Red Bull Salzburg last year, latched onto Pelle’s flick and held off the weak challenges from two Villa defenders before slotting into the net after a lucky rebound off goalkeeper Shay Given.
Just 84 seconds later he scored again after Ron Vlaar’s sloppy backpass fell to Long, who helped the ball on for Mane to tap in.
Fittingly, Mane’s hat-trick was completed in more eye-catching style as he curled home from just inside the penalty area in the 16th minute.
Mane was involved again when Long made it four in the 26th minute, playing a defence-splitting pass to Pelle, who fed his strike partner for an easy finish.
With Villa in complete disarray, the fifth goal arrived in the 38th minute as Ashley Westwood conceded possession to Long and he caught Given off his line with a brilliant long-range strike.
Belgian striker Benteke headed home from Leandro Bacuna’s cross in first-half stoppage time, but there was hardly a sign of celebration from Sherwood and his embarrassed players.
Inevitably, the second half had far less drama, but Southampton put the seal on a memorable day in the 81st minute when Italian international Pelle fired into the roof of the net from Mane’s cross.