Costa goal sinks Saints

By SFC Media Thu 24 Nov Sparta vs Saints
Thu 24 Nov 6.00PM
UEFA Europa League
Sparta Praha
1
Southampton
0
Nhamoinesu [11']
Holek (32')
Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano | Venue: Generali Arena | Attendance: 17,429

Southampton suffered another disappointing European away night, as they lost 1-0 at Sparta Praha.

Costa Nhamoinesu scored the only goal of the game at the Generali Stadium, as Saints again struggled to break down their opposition on the road in Europe once again.

The result leaves Claude Puel's side needing a win, or 0-0 draw, against Hapoel Be'er Sheva in their final group game at St Mary's to assure themselves of qualification.

Puel made seven changes from the draw against Liverpool, with only Virgil van Dijk, Fraser Forster, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Nathan Redmond keeping their places.

Those to come in included Cuco Martina, Maya Yoshida and Sam McQueen, as Puel shuffled his defensive line, as he has done throughout this season’s Europa League campaign.

Shane Long, Jordy Clasie and Jay Rodriguez were three of the players to come in to the side, and they combined well inside the opening five minutes, but the latter was crowded out inside the penalty area and the chance had gone.

Saints had made a promising start, but they fell behind with 11 minutes on the clock, as a well-worked Sparta free-kick led to Costa opening the scoring with a smart finish.

Saints fell behind in the 11th minute at the Generali Stadium

The response was immediate from Puel’s side, with Long’s header, from a James Ward-Prowse free-kick, kept out, before Sam McQueen went close, but was denied by a smart save from Tomás Koubek.

Rodriguez then saw a left-footed effort blocked, before McQueen, who was impressing at left-back, dragged a shot just wide of the near post.

Saints may have dominated possession in the first half, but the hosts were much more confident at the start of the second half, and they twice went close to doubling their lead.

Vyacheslav Karavaev whipped in a dangerous free-kick that Forster did well to tip away, before Lukáš Mareček fired narrowly wide.

Bořek Dočkal was then denied by Forster, as the hosts took control of proceedings, knowing a win would secure their qualification for the knockout phase of the competition.

Sam McQueen looks to get beyond his man

Sofiane Boufal and Oriol Romeu were introduced, and it was the former who almost created an equaliser for Saints.

Boufal's clever pass over the top found Ward-Prowse, but the England Under-21 international was unable to bring the ball under control and the chance had gone.

Just as in the Turner Stadium and at the San Siro, Saints' best chance fell the way of van Dijk from a Ward-Prowse delivery, but the defender headed over from close range.

Sofiane Boufal was introduced in the second half

A dangerous Redmond cross was missed my Long as Saints pressed for an equaliser, while the forward's ball across the box almost set up an equaliser for Romeu.

There would be no leveller though, as Puel's men suffered a second away defeat in Group K to leave them on seven points from five games.

Hapoel Be'er Sheva, who beat Internazionale, will head to St Mary's knowing the winner will progress to the knockout stages. A score draw would also see the Israeli outfit go through.

Sparta Praha

Head to Head Stats

Southampton
  • Possession (%)
    30
    70
  • Shots
    6
    12
  • Shots on target
    4
    3
  • Corners
    0
    5
  • Passes Complete
    144
    524

Sparta Prague

33
Tomas Koubek (GK)
2
Ondrej Mazuch
26
Costa Nhamoinesu
3
Michal Kadlec
4
Vyacheslav Karavayev
30
Lukas Julis
Daniel Köstl (93′)
22
Daniel Holzer
Vaclav Dudl (91′)
25
Mario Holek
11
Lukás Marecek
9
Borek Dockal
21
David Lafata (C)
Filip Havelka (88′)
50
Ondrej Novotny
27
Miroslav Miller
47
Daniel Köstl
43
Vaclav Dudl
48
Matej Majka
46
Milan Kadlec
45
Filip Havelka

Southampton

1
Fraser Forster (GK)
17
Virgil van Dijk (C)
38
Sam McQueen
15
Cuco Martina
3
Maya Yoshida
16
James Ward-Prowse
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
Oriol Romeu (55′)
4
Jordy Clasie
Charlie Austin (72′)
7
Shane Long
9
Jay Rodriguez
Sofiane Boufal (55′)
22
Nathan Redmond
19
Sofiane Boufal
8
Steven Davis
41
Harry Lewis
21
Ryan Bertrand
14
Oriol Romeu
10
Charlie Austin
24
Jack Stephens
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Sparta vs Saints

Clasie on Prague disappointment

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