Southampton bow out of Europa League
By Stephen Giles
- Europa League Playoff Second Leg
- Southampton beaten in Denmark
- The draw for the Group Stages will be made today
MIDTYJLLAND, DENMARK – Southampton failed to reach the Europa League group stages as they were beaten by Danish champions Midtyjlland.
Striker Morten Rasmussen – formerly of Celtic – scored with a 28th minute turn and shot against the run of play, capitalising on an error from Jay Rodriguez to secure a 2-1 aggregate win for the hosts, who now go into Friday’s group stage draw.
The Saints had their chances in the first half with Jose Fonte going agonisingly close from a James Ward-Prowse corner, but his goal bound header was cleared off the line by Jakob Poulsen.
Rodriguez was then played through on goal, but he unselfishly squared the ball and the chance went to waste. Graziano Pelle then stung the gloves of goalkeeper Johan Dahlin with a fierce drive from close range, but the shot-stopper was more than equal to it and beat it away.
Midtjylland frustrated the visitors and delayed play throughout. It was an unimpressive feature of their game which had secured them a 1-1 draw at St. Mary’s last week.
Apart from the goal and a blocked effort, the home side carried very little threat throughout.
As the game wore on, Southampton seldom looked like scoring an away goal to force extra time, and so it proved.
After the all too brief foray into Europe, The Saints will now look to register a first win of the season in the Premier League on Sunday with a home game against Norwich after an indifferent start to the season.
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman:
“In both games we were the better team, we had the most chances. We scored a goal at home that was disallowed”
“We worked very hard but sometimes you need good decisions. We didn’t have that. In my opinion that makes the result.”
On Sadio Mané’s absence from the team last night:
“He wasn’t 100% and it will be a long season. I didn’t take that risk to put him in. We need him for more games.”
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