Europa League results: Southampton look strong in win over Sparta

Results from the Thursday night slate of Europa League action, including Southampton's 3-0 win over Sparta Prague at St Mary's Stadium.
Southampton celebrate their third goal against Sparta Prague on Thursday night. Henry Browne / Action Images / Reuters / September 15, 2016
Southampton celebrate their third goal against Sparta Prague on Thursday night. Henry Browne / Action Images / Reuters / September 15, 2016

Europa League results, Thursday

Group A: Feyenoord (NED) 1-0 Manchester United (ENG); Zorya Luhansk (UKR) 1-1 Fenerbahce (TUR); Group B: Young Boys (SUI) 0-1 Olympiakos (GRE); Apoel Nicosia (CYP) 2-1 Astana (KAZ); Group C: Mainz (GER) 1-1 Saint-Etienne (FRA); Anderlecht (BEL) 3-1 Gabala (AZE); Group D: AZ Alkmaar (NED) 1-1 Dundalk (IRE); Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR) 3-4 Zenit Saint Petersburg (RUS); Group E: Viktoria Plzen (CZE) 1-1 Roma (ITA); Astra Giurgiu (ROU) 2-3 Austria Vienna (AUT); Group F: Rapid Vienna (AUT) 3-2 Genk (BEL); Sassuolo (ITA) 3-0 Athletic Bilbao (ESP); Group G: Standard Liege (BEL) 1-1 Celta Vigo (ESP); Panathinaikos (GRE) 1-2 Ajax (NED); Group H: Konyaspor (TUR) 0-1 Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR); Braga (POR) 1-1 Gent (BEL); Group I: Red Bull Salzburg (AUT) 0-1 Krasnodar (RUS); Nice (FRA) 0-1 Schalke (GER); Group J: Qarabag (AZE) 2-2 Slovan Liberec (CZE); PAOK (GRE) 0-0 Fiorentina (ITA); Group K: Inter Milan (ITA) 0-2 Hapoel Be’er Sheva (ISR); Southampton (ENG) 3-0 Sparta Prague (CZE); Group L: Osmalispor (TUR) 2-0 Steaua Bucharest (ROU); Villarreal (ESP) 2-1 Zurich (SUI)

// Claude Puel got his first victory as Southampton manager as the Premier League side eased to a 3-0 home victory over Sparta Prague at St Mary’s Stadium in Group K. The Frenchman was left fuming at the weekend when Southampton lost to a harsh injury-time penalty at Arsenal. The boot was on the other foot this time when Costa was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball in the box when it struck his hand. Charlie Austin tucked away the spot-kick after just five minutes and then the striker headed in from a skilled outside-of-the boot cross from Cuco Martina to give the hosts a 2-0 half-time lead. Southampton easily held on in a drab second half and substitute Jay Rodriguez – on for Austin – stabbed home in injury time to seal a comfortable night’s work.

Manchester United may have lost in the Netherlands in a drab 1-0 loss to Feyenoord, but Irish champions Dundalk came away with a 1-1 draw from their trip to AZ Alkmaar. They looked to be heading for a defeat at the Afas Stadion after Stijn Wuytens bravely headed AZ into a 61st-minute lead. Wuytens took a punch in the face from Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers as he attacked the ball and needed lengthy treatment before being taken off. There looked to be no way back for Dundalk after captain Stephen O’Donnell was sent off for a second yellow, but substitute Ciaran Kilduff netted the equaliser with a minute to go in their Group D opener. It was a fine result for Stephen Kenny’s side, who lost to Legia Warsaw in the Champions League play-offs. Next up for them is a meeting with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Dublin.

The performance of the night came in the other game in the group as former Uefa Cup winners Zenit Saint Petersburg stormed back from three goals down with less than a quarter of an hour remaining to beat Maccabi 4-3 in Israel. The hosts had appeared to be on easy street as two goals by Haris Medunjanin either side of a Vidar Orn Kjartansson header had them 3-0 in front. But Russian international Aleksandr Kokorin pulled one back on 77 minutes before Eli Dasa was red-carded for Maccabi. Substitute Mauricio further reduced the deficit and Giuliano equalised on 86 minutes, leaving plenty of time for the Montenegrin Luka Djordjevic to score the winner in injury time with a diving header.

While Inter Milan were beaten at home by Hapoel Be’er Sheva and both AS Roma and Fiorentina drew on the road, it was a great night for another Italian side. Sassuolo, appearing in Europe for the first time, started their Group F campaign with a rousing 3-0 home win against 2012 Europa League runners-up Athletic Bilbao. Teenage Spaniard Pol Lirola put Sassuolo ahead on the hour mark and they did not look back, Gregoire Defrel making it two on 75 minutes before Matteo Politano sealed the win.

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Published: September 16, 2016 04:00 AM

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