Southampton crash out of Europe in disappointing fashion

Southampton crash out of Europe in disappointing fashion

The Saints had a perfect opportunity to progress to the knockout stages but failed to beat Hapoel Be'er Sheva in their final group game.

AaronStokes96
Aaron Stokes

Southampton failed to take of advantage of a home tie, as they crashed out of the Europa League after a 1-1 draw with Hapoel Be'er Sheva. 

The Saints only needed a 0-0 draw or a victory to see them through but Claude Puel's men struggled to break down the Isreali outfit's tight defence. 

Opportunity wasted

As mentioned, Southampton had a near-perfect chance to qualify for the next round of the competition, as Hapoel Be'er Sheva made the trip to the South Coast of England. Many fans inside St. Mary's last night expected their side to be on the front foot from the outset, however that wasn't the case. 

Redmond and co. tried to make the breakthrough for Southampton. Photo: Getty/Catherine Ivill /AMA
Redmond and co. tried to make the breakthrough for Southampton. Photo: Getty/Catherine Ivill /AMA

Puel's men looked lacklustre and disinterested. Hapoel took advantage of this by taking the lead in the 79th minute through Maor Bao Buzaglo. The gave Southampton a huge mountain to climb in the closing stages and although Virgil Van Dijk scored in added time, Hapoel walked away with the score draw they needed to progress.

Maya Yoshida sent a glancing header over the bar in the dying seconds and Saints fan knew their time in the competition was over. 

Replicating league form

Southampton currently sit 12th in the Premier League, just four points off the top six. Their league form has been strong this season and Puel's diamond formation seems to be working when his first choice players are fully fit. 

Hapoel celebrate their progression to the next round. Photo: Catherine Ivill/ AMA
Hapoel celebrate their progression to the next round. Photo: Catherine Ivill/ AMA

However, Southampton just couldn't seem to take their domestic form into the Europa League. Defeats against Sparta Prague and Inter Milan were unexpected and disappointing. 

Perhaps the toll of playing on a Thursday evening and a Sunday afternoon was the reason Southampton failed to get out of the group stage. 

Reasons to be cheerful

Southampton fans will undoubtedly be feeling wounded this morning but when the dust settles and the pain subsides, supporters must realise things are not all bad on the South Coast.

As mentioned, the Saints are not fairing too badly in the league and are currently awaiting a semi final tie against Liverpool. To add to this, Puel's signings are looking like smart buys and the youngsters making their first team bows are integrating well.

There is no need to panic just yet for Saints fans.

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