Southampton 1-1 Espanyol: Saints remain unbeaten in pre-season

Claude Puel's men are yet to lose as they head into their final friendly match before the new Premier League season.

Southampton 1-1 Espanyol: Saints remain unbeaten in pre-season
Photo source: Daily Mail
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Southampton: Southampton: Fraser Forster (Alex McCarthy 46), Cuco Martina, Maya Yoshida (Alfie Jones 83), Virgil van Dijk (Jack Stephens 83), Sam McQueen, Oriol Romeu (Harrison Reed 71), Jordy Clasie (Pierre-Emile Højbjerg 46), James Ward-Prowse (Steven Davis 46), Dušan Tadić (Jay Rodriguez 71), Nathan Redmond (Lloyd Isgrove 71), Shane Long (Charlie Austin 46)
Espanyol: RCD Espanyol: Pau López, Javi López (Anaitz Marti Caricol 69), Aaron Caricol (Ruben Duarte 46), Victor Sánchez, Oscar Duarte, Alvaro Gonzalez, Hernan Perez Gonzalez (Salvador Sevilla Lopez 69), Jose Jurado Marin (Pablo Daniel Piatti 46), Leo Baptista (Gerard Moreno 83), Jose Reyes (Felipe Caicedo 57), Marc Roque Junque.
SCORE: 1-0, 32', Romeu. 1-1, 69', Caicedo (pen)

Southampton lost their 100% pre-season record but are still yet to lose, as they were held to a 1-1 draw against Espanyol

They face another Spanish side on Sunday, as Athletic Bilbao travel to St. Mary's.

Bigger task

Southampton have had a fairly easy run in during the summer, winning all four of their friendlies in Holland. 

This task was a stiffer one and Espanyol matched the Saints for a large period of the game. 

As mentioned, it is the first time the South Coast outfit have failed to win since the end of the season.

First half action

The visitors started the brightest and Fraser Forster was tested twice by both Jose Reyes and Marc Roque Junior.

Southampton soon got into the game as James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond both had clear cut chances to open the scoring. Ward-Prowse's shot was deflected off his own teammate and easily cleared. 

The game continued to be an end-to-end affair and Virgil Van Dijk was the next to go close with a header.

The deadlock was finally broken when Oriel Romeu got on the end of a Ward-Prowse corner, to score against his old team.

Redmond looked inspired towards the end of the second half and nearly doubled the home side's lead but he fired just wide of the post.

Rodriguez getting some minutes under his belt. Photo source: Daily Mail
Rodriguez getting some minutes under his belt. Photo source: Daily Mail

Second half action

Puel made four changes at half time, handing a debut to new signing Alex McCarthy. 

The new goalkeeper didn't have much to do in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Substitute Charlie Austin was looking dangerous and Redmond was continuing to shine; both went close to making it 2-0.

Despite the pressure, Espanyol would soon equalise. Van Dijk fouled Leo Baptista in the penalty area and it was former Manchester City striker Felipe Caicedo who converted from 12 yards out.

Youngsters Lloyd Isgrove and Harrison Reed came off the bench late on in the game but could not make an instant impact. 

The two teams have now drawn their last two friendlies against each other. 

Romeu happy

After scoring his first goal of pre-season, Romeu said there was "many positive things" about the performance. He did admit things could improve but insisted the team is "getting better".

The Spaniard said he is hopeful Southampton can earn a "great win" on Sunday, so they can go into the new season on a high. 

Southampton kick off their Premier League campaign against Watford next week.