Saints see off Celta Vigo

By SFC Media Wed 01 Aug Saints v Celta Vigo
Photo by Matt Watson
Wed 01 Aug 7.45PM
Friendlies
Southampton
3
Celta Vigo
2
Austin [55'] Armstrong [59'] Elyounoussi [90']
Sisto [11'] Aspas [42']
Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 0

Saints overturned a first-half deficit to seal a 3-2 win against La Liga outfit Celta Vigo at St Mary's in their penultimate pre-season friendly fixture.

Matt Targett assisted Saints' first two strikes, with Charlie Austin and Stuart Armstrong providing the finishes, before Mo Elyounoussi clinched a late winner in the 90th minute.

Vigo's danger men Pione Sisto and Iago Aspas had given the visitors a two goal cushion entering the break, with two individual moments of class, but a gritty second half performance from Mark Hughes's side was enough to earn victory under the lights at St Mary's.

Saints now prepare for the final dress rehearsal before their opening Premier League clash by entertaining Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday, ahead of hosting Burnley at St Mary's on August 12th.

Summer acquisition Jannik Vestergaard was handed a home debut on the night, while Jan Bednarek continued as part of a back three, with one change to the side that ran out comfortable winners against Dijon four days prior - Steven Davis replacing Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.

Saints, playing their first home fixture of the pre-season calendar, began well, but were tested early, with a delivery from the right by Jozabed, who found Gustavo Cabral's head, but the defender sent a clumsy header wayward.

Beginning to control the game, Saints had a golden opportunity to edge in front in the sixth minute. Armstrong had released Ryan Bertrand down the left, who teased a cross to the back post, where young Sam McQueen threw his head at the ball, ultimately with too much power, diverting it off target.

The hosts were looking confident in possession, with the formation allowing Bertrand and McQueen to venture forward often, and to good effect. The Spaniards weren't without their own threat, though, and sensed an opportunity to launch a counter in the 11th minute.

Sisto collected the ball, in a relatively harmless position, before darting forwards, stepping inside to create a yard of space, and curling a sublime effort into the far corner from an angle. Alex McCarthy was powerless, such was the pace and accuracy on the ball, as the visitors stole an early lead.

Not to be shaken by the early blow, Saints continued to threaten, with both Oriol Romeu and Armstrong attempting shots from distance. Neither troubled Sergio Álvarez, but showed a real willingness to commit bodies forward, in search of an equaliser.

Just after the half hour mark, and the hosts were again probing. Manolo Gabbiadini's hold up play was effective, as he waited patiently for the arrival of Shane Long, before rolling the ball invitingly into his path. The Irishman hit the shot first time, but was unfortunate to see it crash off the crossbar.

Vigo, with plenty of their own talent on show, were too displaying promising signs, and made the second breakthrough in 42nd minute. Spanish international Aspas negotiated his way into the penalty area, before disguising the finish and sending the ball beyond McCarthy to end the first half action.

Changes afoot at the break, as Austin, Højbjerg, Targett and Angus Gunn entered the fray, all keen to get a decent helping of match minutes.

And their influence was felt a mere nine minutes into the second period. With two substitutes combining, Targett whipped a tempting delivery towards Austin, who provided a clever headed finish, rising highest and nodding past Álvarez to halve the deficit.

Buoyed by the first, Saints soon had their second goal. Targett was again the provider, as the wide man spotted the late run of Armstrong who took the ball in his stride and effortlessly found the bottom corner, all in one swift motion.

Second half solace for Saints, then, who had drawn level within the first fifteen minutes of the restart. And before long, new boy Elyounoussi, greeted with a warm reception by the St Mary's crowd, had a chance to make an impact from the subs bench, but the eventual shot was charged down.

Not to be deterred, the Norwegian continued to push forward, and got his rewards seconds before the final whistle. James Ward-Prowse had hit a powerful shot from range, which struck the inside of the post, and rebounded into the path of poacher Elyounoussi, who did well to hold his position and react ahead of Cabral.

Back-to-back friendly wins will provide plenty of confidence for Hughes's men heading into their final pre-season tie, as St Mary's welcomes Borussia Mönchengladbach in three days time.

Southampton

1
Alex McCarthy (GK)
Angus Gunn (45′)
4
Jannik Vestergaard
6
Wesley Hoedt
7
Shane Long
Charlie Austin (45′)
8
Steven Davis
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (45′)
14
Oriol Romeu
James Ward-Prowse (77′)
17
Stuart Armstrong
Mo Elyounoussi (60′)
20
Manolo Gabbiadini
Sam Gallagher (77′)
21
Ryan Bertrand (C)
Harrison Reed (81′)
35
Jan Bednarek
Jack Stephens (60′)
38
Sam McQueen
Matt Targett (45′)
28
Angus Gunn
41
Harry Lewis
5
Jack Stephens
10
Charlie Austin
11
Mo Elyounoussi
16
James Ward-Prowse
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
25
Harrison Reed
27
Sam Gallagher
33
Matt Targett
39
Josh Sims

Celta Vigo

1
Sergio Álvarez Conde (GK)
2
Hugo Mallo (C)
4
Néstor Arujo
10
Iago Aspas
11
Pione Sisto
12
Claudio Beauvue
14
Stanislav Lobitka
17
David Juncà
21
Jozabed
22
Gustavo Cabral
24
Facundo Roncaglia
6
Juan Hernández García
8
Borja Fernández
15
Róbert Mazáň
16
Andrew Hjulsager
18
David Costas
19
Kevin Vázquez Comesaña
23
Brais Méndez
25
Ivan Villar
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