Qualifying Round 3
FT 90 +5 HT 0–1 (agg 0 - 5)
Referee : Ilías Spathas
Attendance : 20,550
- Teams & Interviews
Vitesse v Southampton
GelreDome, Arnhem, Thursday 6th August 2015
> Good goals for Pellè and Mané
> Koeman ruptures Achilles on eve of match
A sign of how far Saints has progressed as a team and it’s supporters along with it, was a noticeable lack of anxiety last night. The result was never in doubt, especially since Graziano Pellè scored a really well taken goal in the fourth minute.
The only real problem was the slightly strange news that Ronald Koeman had managed to rupture an Achilles tendon on the evening before. As a result he will have an operation in Holland and may well miss Sunday’s opening Premier League fixture at Newcastle.
When the team sheets were issued, we found that both the first choice full backs, of Cédric and Targett had been left on the bench. Instead, Martina and Caulker were in for their first competitive starts for Saints. Also, with Clasie being injured, Ward-Prowse started.
And an eventful start it was too. Within the first five minutes Saints were 1–0 up and 4–0 on aggregate, including the priceless away goal. Tadić crossed from the left wing, Ward-Prowse tapped it to Pellè, almost alongside him and the big man swivelled and shot past the Vitesse goalie, Room.
To their credit the Dutch crowd got behind their team, who then had a go at Saints, but to little effect. Even when the Vitesse players found a way through the defence, Stekelenburg was an impenetrable last line. He is already beginning to look rather better than his last couple of seasons and is another astute signing by Saints. Caulker though, looks a bit shaky and will probably take a while to get over the trauma of last season with the QPR. Yoshida, on the other hand, looked surprisingly comfortable in the left back slot, but he is never going to trouble either Bertrand, or Targett for that position.
The reality of the match was that there was no way that Vitesse were going to get themselves in a position to get anything out of the game at all and the match drifted along without anything much happening. At one point I remember thinking that, Pellè’s goal apart, there were not really any highlights.
Then, in the dying embers of the game Sadio Mané lit things up with one of his trademark goals. He robbed the ball from one of the Vitesse defenders and raced towards goal, sidestepping another defender, before shooting past Room. Sadio really is a fantastic player to watch and a defenders nightmare. He doesn’t do conventional, which is why he is so difficult to play against. Sometimes he seems to just drift through a game, working hard, but having no real impact and then something like this happens. Like Pellè, he is key to how this Saints team operates.
So, that was round 3 of the Europa League qualifying dealt with. Next we have the playoff round. As I have been typing this, the news has arrived that our opponents will be the Danish champions, Midtjylland. Another couple of great nights of European football to look forward to.
7th August 2015
17 Diks Booked
03 van der Werff (Achenteh - 72’ )
34 Baker (Pantic - 81’ )
07 Brown (de Souza - 69’ )
13 de Souza
22 Stekelenburg Booked
15 Martina Booked
08 Davis (Reed - 78’ )
11 Tadic (Juanmi - 65’ )
19 Pellè (Rodriguez - 72’ )