LONDON • Southampton striker Shane Long scored the fastest goal in Premier League history, netting after just 7.69 seconds of his side's 1-1 Premier League draw at Watford on Tuesday.
The Ireland international's opener came immediately after the kick-off when he blocked a clearance from Watford defender Craig Cathcart before dinking a cool finish over goalkeeper Ben Foster.
The 32-year-old's effort at Vicarage Road surpassed the previous fastest league goal, scored in 9.82 seconds by then Tottenham defender Ledley King against Bradford in December 2000.
While it was only Long's fourth strike of the season, three of those have come in his last four appearances and his hot form has been a fillip for Ralph Hasenhuttl's team.
The Saints are now six points clear of 18th-placed Cardiff with just three league games remaining.
However, they were left to rue their missed opportunities to all but mathematically seal safety after twice striking the woodwork through Nathan Redmond and Ryan Bertrand.
Expressing his surprise at his feat, Long told Sky Sports: "It's a record, is it?
"Straight from the kick-off, we wanted to put them under pressure, 99 times out of a hundred, you block it and it doesn't work, but this time, it did."
His joy was tempered by Andre Gray's added-time equaliser, which saw his teammates fall to the pitch in despair. He added: "It's nice to have a record like that, but it would have been nicer if it was the winning goal."
King was in the stands at Spurs' 1-0 home win over Brighton the same night and he later acknowledged the achievement, tweeting: "Just wanted to congratulate Shane Long on breaking the fastest goal in Premier League history record after 19 years.
"That's gonna take some beating, well done."