Southampton international round-up: Yoshida scores as Isgrove makes debut

Steven Davis and Graziano Pelle were also in action on a busy day of international service for Saints players

Southampton international round-up: Yoshida scores as Isgrove makes debut
Maya Yoshida celebrates his goal | Photo: Southampton FC

There were four Southampton players in international duty over the course of Thursday, with Maya YoshidaGraziano PelleSteven Davis and Lloyd Isgrove all featuring for their respective nations.

Yoshida netted a rare international goal as he helped Japan thump Afghanistan 5-0 to extend their unbeaten run to seven games in their World Cup Qualifying group, which they now lead by four points.

Yoshida headed home the fourth goal of the game at the Saitama Stadium, as he earned his 63rd cap and took his tally of international goals up to seven.

Japan have now scored 11 against past Afghanistan in the qualifying group after they put six past them in the reverse fixture away in Tehran, back in September.  

Returning hero

The centre-back, who is no stranger to scoring the odd goal for his club, will hope that his fine international form will help-regain him a domestic starting place ahead of the final run in after the last international break before the off-season.

Fellow Premier League star Shinji Okazaki opened the scoring for the Samurai Blues with some fancy footwork inside the area, before Hannover forward Hiroshi Kiyotake's scuffed shot doubled the lead after half-time.

Sharif Mukhammad own goal and another mis-kick from Mu Kanazaki either side of Yoshida's goal, a header from a corner with the goalkeeper in no man's land, sealed the victory and an important three points for Japan.

Pelle starts in Italy draw

Elsewhere, Saints forward Pelle started and played 60 minutes in Italy's one-all draw with European Champions Spain, with both goals coming after the 30-year-old was replaced by Juventus striker Simone Zaza.

Lorenzo Insigne gave Italy the lead after 67 minutes, but Aritz Aduriz equalised on his first international start just three minutes later to ensure the spoils were shared.

Saints midfielders face off for British rivals

Isgrove, currently on loan in League One with Barnsley, made his senior international debut at home for Wales in their 1-1 draw with Northern Ireland.

The 23-year-old came off the bench for the final half an hour to replace George Williams, and came up against fellow Saints midfielder Davis, who captains the Northern Irish and played the full 90 minutes.

Craig Cathcart looked to have given Northern Ireland the win with his low strike on the hour mark, but Simon Church brought the scores level in the 89th minute from the penalty spot after being fouled by Gareth McAuley.

Lloyd Isgrove in action for Southampton's youth team | Photo: Sky Sports
Lloyd Isgrove in action for Southampton's youth team | Photo: Sky Sports