Southampton cruise to victory, but West Ham throw away two-goal lead
Premier League duo Southampton and West Ham United were both in Europa League action last night in the third round qualifying stage.
It was The Hammers‘ third match already in the competition, whilst The Saints were playing their first official European game in over a decade. Their last came way back in 2003.
Both sides were at home, with Southampton hosting Vitesse Arnhem and West Ham playing Astra Giurgiu.
It was a successful night at the St Marys Stadium as The Saints brushed past Vitesse thanks to goals from Graziano Pelle, Shane Long and Dusan Tadic.
Two first-half goals from Pelle and Tadic gave Ronald Koeman‘s side a comfortable lead at half-time, before Long sealed the victory with just six minutes remaining.
The second-leg will be played next Thursday with Southampton in a commanding position.
After the game, Koeman had this to say to the media: “It’s never over in football, but the final score tonight is a very good one for us.
“I wasn’t happy with the second half. We were a bit lucky to get a third goal with a mistake from Vitesse late on.
“We had a difficult start and took time to settle in to the game but we controlled the game well after that.”
West Ham Summary
A good night for Southampton was followed by a bad night for West Ham.
The Hammers looked at ease against their Romanian opposition as they strolled into a two-goal lead thanks to Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate.
However, another red card for West Ham, this time James Collins, saw the game turn on it’s head and Astra Giurgiu pulled the tie back to 2-2.
Fernando Boldrin scored the first for the visitors, before Hammers new-boy, Angelo Ogbonna scored an own-goal with just eight minutes remaining.
West Ham have it all to do in the second leg which will be played next Thursday.
After the match, Slaven Bilic vented his frustrations at the result: “We were dominating the game. It was a very frustrating evening because we played well until the moment we had a player sent-off. We had chances to score the third goal.
“It was a professional foul from Collins and I can’t blame him [referee]. The second yellow was harsh.
“We definitely played well in the first hour, but the game lasts 90 minutes and we had to react better to going down to 10 men.”
Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt