Big night of qualifiers ahead

By SFC Media Sat 02 Sep International
Photo by Getty Images | Manolo Gabbiadini

As many as five Southampton players could be in action for their countries today, as the international action continues.

A big evening of World Cup qualifying lies ahead for a number of the squad, as the road to the 2018 finals in Russia nears an end.

Summer signing Mario Lemina faces a vital clash, as he and his Gabon teammates host Ivory Coast (5pm BST).

After their first two games in the final stage of African qualifying, Gabon lie second in Group C, two points behind tonight’s opponents.

A victory would see them leapfrog Ivory Coast, ahead of the sides meeting again on Tuesday, this time with Gabon travelling away from home.

Only the group winners will advance to the World Cup finals, so the next few days could be pivotal ones for Lemina and his colleagues.

In the European qualification zone, Shane Long and Dušan Tadić both face big Group D fixtures.

Republic of Ireland and Serbia are locked together at the top of the standings, on 12 points, ahead of the teams meeting in Dublin for a crunch game on Tuesday night.

Before then, Long and his colleagues travel to Georgia later today (5pm BST), while Tadić and Serbia host Moldova (5pm BST) in a pair of qualifiers.

There is also a massive game for Manolo Gabbiadini and Italy, as they travel to Madrid for a meeting with Spain (7.45pm BST).

The teams are tied at the top of Group G, on 16 points, with the sides having played out a 1-1 draw in Turin last October.

Elsewhere, young Saints striker Jonathan Afolabi is with Republic of Ireland Under-19s, as they host their Czech Republic counterparts in a friendly (7.45pm BST).

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