Southampton 3-0 Sparta Prague

15 Sep

Charlie Austin heads Southampton's second goal against Sparta Prague


Charlie Austin is the first Southampton player to score a brace in the Uefa Cup/Europa League since Steve Moran in 1981

Charlie Austin scored twice as Southampton secured their first win under manager Claude Puel by beating Sparta Prague in the Europa League.

Austin opened the scoring with a controversial penalty after Costa Nhamoinesu was harshly adjudged to have handled while challenging the striker.

Dusan Tadic had to be ushered away after arguing about who should take the penalty but celebrated with Austin.

Austin’s header made it 2-0 before Jay Rodriguez added a late third.

Relive Southampton’s Europa League victory

Austin makes his point

Puel has endured a frustrating start to his managerial reign at Southampton after two draws and two defeats, including last Saturday’s last-minute loss at Arsenal.

But this was a highly satisfactory night for the Frenchman as the Saints secured a comfortable Group K win with Austin, who has started just one league game this season, causing chaos with his pace and accurate finishing.

The 27-year-old looked like a player with a point to prove as he scored twice in 22 first-half minutes, the first a controversial penalty awarded after Nhamoinesu was ruled to have handled while challenging Austin on the edge of the area.

German referee Manuel Grafe originally awarded a corner only to change his mind and point to the spot.

More drama was to follow as Austin’s team-mate Tadic had to be guided away by captain Virgil van Dijk after arguing over who should take the kick.

Austin sent keeper Tomas Koubek the wrong way from the spot before the former QPR striker headed his second from the edge of the six-yard area after Cuco Martina’s clever cross.

Having scored the winner at Manchester United last January, Austin has now found the net on both his Premier League and Europa League debuts for Southampton.

Dusan Tadic (left) argues with Charlie Austin (right) about who takes Southampton's penalty<!–

Dusan Tadic (left) argued with Charlie Austin (right) about who would take Southampton’s penalty

What did Puel learn?

Sparta Prague offered very little threat in a match which at times resembled a training game.

The Czech visitors forced just one save from Fraser Forster, who beat away substitute David Lafata’s first=-time effort when the score was 2-0.

Puel made seven changes to the side that started against Arsenal yet there was an intensity and a desire as his fringe players left him with plenty to ponder.

Tadic and Austin were lively throughout while Shane Long capped an impressive individual display by setting up substitute Rodriguez to turn home from close range Saints’ third.

The win takes Southampton top of the group ahead of their trip to Israel to face Hapoel Be’er Sheva, who won 2-0 away at Inter Milan, on 29 September.

What’s next?

Will this win kick-start Southampton’s season? We’ll soon find out. They entertain Swansea City at St Mary’s on Sunday (14:15 BST).

Live Text

Match ends, Southampton 3, Sparta Prague 0.

Second Half ends, Southampton 3, Sparta Prague 0.

Goal! Southampton 3, Sparta Prague 0. Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Shane Long.

Foul by Shane Long (Southampton).

Vaclav Kadlec (Sparta Prague) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Shane Long (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Matt Targett.

Matej Pulkrab (Sparta Prague) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Matej Pulkrab (Sparta Prague).

Offside, Southampton. Virgil van Dijk tries a through ball, but Shane Long is caught offside.

James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Vyacheslav Karavayev (Sparta Prague).

Foul by James Ward-Prowse (Southampton).

Michal Sacek (Sparta Prague) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Virgil van Dijk (Southampton) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Maya Yoshida with a headed pass following a corner.

Attempt blocked. Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by James Ward-Prowse with a cross.

Substitution, Southampton. Steven Davis replaces Oriol Romeu.

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Martin Frydek.

Foul by Oriol Romeu (Southampton).

Matej Pulkrab (Sparta Prague) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Oriol Romeu (Southampton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Oriol Romeu (Southampton).

Michal Sacek (Sparta Prague) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, Southampton. Jay Rodriguez replaces Charlie Austin.

Shane Long (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Costa Nhamoinesu (Sparta Prague).

James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by David Lafata (Sparta Prague).

Substitution, Sparta Prague. Matej Pulkrab replaces Josef Sural.

Offside, Southampton. Nathan Redmond tries a through ball, but Shane Long is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Nathan Redmond.

Foul by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton).

Michal Sacek (Sparta Prague) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Nathan Redmond.

Attempt blocked. James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Nathan Redmond.

Substitution, Southampton. Nathan Redmond replaces Dusan Tadic.

Vaclav Kadlec (Sparta Prague) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Matt Targett (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Vaclav Kadlec (Sparta Prague).

Attempt saved. David Lafata (Sparta Prague) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

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