Long on target as Saints enjoy Euro return
Published 31/07/2015 | 01:12
Shane Long was on the mark as Southampton secured their first European victory since beating Limerick in 1981.
The Saints enjoyed a dream return to continental football – they had a brief and unsuccessful dalliance in 2003 – with a 3-0 first-leg win over Vitesse Arnhem at St Mary’s in the third qualifying round.
Graziano Pelle put the Saints ahead in the 36th minute, lashing home Sadio Mane’s through-ball.
Shortly before the break, Dusan Tadic doubled the lead from the penalty spot after Mane was brought down, and Ireland star Long headed home the third on 83 minutes.
Elsewhere, West Ham boss Slaven Bilic was sent to the stands after seeing his side let a two-goal lead slip while they again toiled with 10 men as their quest to reach the Europa League group stages lurched on.
Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate had put the Hammers well in control against Astra Giurgiu, before James Collins became the third player to be sent off in five games under Bilic.
The visitors made the most of their numerical advantage. Fernando Boldrin thrashed home a shot before debutant Angelo Ogbonna scored an own goal as the match ended 2-2.
Crowd trouble caused the abandonment of the qualifier between Kukesi and Legia Warsaw in Albania.
Legia had just taken a 2-1 lead when their player Ondrej Duda was hit by an object thrown from the stand.
Play was suspended as Duda was taken off the field on a stretcher and had his head bandaged, but he was soon back on his feet.