Southampton remain on course to qualify from Europa League Group K after battling to a creditable 0-0 draw with Hapoel Be’er Sheva.
The Israeli side created the better openings in the first half but it was a more even affair after the break and Saints’ hard-earned point comes on the back of the 3-0 victory against Sparta Prague a fortnight ago in their opening group encounter.
Claude Puel’s side should have taken the lead in the fourth minute but Virgil van Dijk contrived to head James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick over the bar from only four yards out.
The Israeli champions, who had pushed Celtic all the way in the Champions League play-off round, before beating Inter Milan in their opening Europa League match at the San Siro a fortnight ago, responded well though and Maharan Radi’s deflected strike was held by Fraser Forster.
The Southampton goalkeeper then kept out Anthony Nwakaeme’s 16th-minute shot before Miguel Vitor headed narrowly wide from a corner as Hapoel Be’er Sheva began to get on top.
Van Dijk got in a great tackle as Maor Melikson bore down on goal on the half-hour mark while, in first-half stoppage time, Nathan Redmond curled a right-footed effort over the bar.
After Hapoel had started the second period brightly, Ward-Prowse’s fierce 25-yard drive forced David Goresh to make a smart save before Cuco Martina’s long-range effort on the hour mark flew wide.
The home side continued to create chances of their own though and Melikson should have done better than fire wide from a great position after fine work by Nwakaeme before Shir Tzedek smashed a volley over Forster’s goal.
But Southampton weathered the home side’s late storm as they held on for a hard-earned point.