Southampton stars were left disappointed as their Europa League fate will go down to the final group game after losing 1-0 Sparta Prague at Generali Arena.
Saints paying the price
Borek Dockal’s free-kick found Costa Nhamoinesu’s close-range volley from a small angle sealed the win for the hosting team.
While Claude Puel made several changes to the side that started in the goalless draw against Liverpool last weekend.
A win would have meant Saints would secure a place in the final 32 with one game to spare, however, they will join Sparta if they manage a goalless draw or a win against Hapoel Be’er Sheva in their final group game at St Mary’s Stadium on 8 December.
Saints have failed to score a goal in their three away games in the group, with the hopes of playing on home soil will be the golden opportunity for them to succeed.
Frustrated and disheartened Saints
Southampton’s midfielder Jordy Clasie has expressed his disappointment: “I think in the first-half they won a free-kick from 20-30 yards and there is a miscommunication between me and Cuco and from there they score the goal.”
The “whole game” Saints players found it “very difficult” to create space and “chances” because of Sparta defending deep.
Saints enjoyed 71% of the “possession” on the night, and they “should have scored” during the first-half, so it is “very disappointing” not to equalise or even win.
“We need to look further now because we have another important game on Sunday and it’s in our hands because we have the home game against Be’er Sheva,” said Clasie
Power to the fans who travelled to “support” their beloved team, its “disappointing” for them but also “for us” because the team desperately want to give them the "three points" and spectacular goals to “enjoy the trips.”
He concluded: “Now we need to get up for Sunday and then win the last game in the group.”