• MATCH REPORT: Groningen 0-1 SAINTS - Preseason




    Charlie Austin scored the only goal of the game as Saints notched up another win.


    A solitary goal from Charlie Austin was enough to secure victory for Claude Puel's side, who continued their 100% record with victory in Groningen.

    The Eredivisie side - who finished 7th in the top flight of Dutch football last season - were Southampton's final game before returning from a preseason tour of Holland and were, on paper, the toughest opposition yet.

    Fraser Forster and Shane Long both started after their respective Euro 2016 campaigns, with Nathan Redmond partnering Long in attack as Puel persisted with the diamond formation.

    Jay Rodriguez missed out due to illness, with Ryan Bertrand and Steven Davis both absent from the matchday squad despite being involved in the week's training sessions.

    Groningen started strongly, with Albert Rusnak cutting inside before firing wide after just six minutes, before Jesper Drost fired over Forster's crossbar just moments later.

    Matt Targett limped off early on after a tough challenge left him requiring treatment, with Puel once again opting to utilise Sam McQueen in the left-back position.

    Groningen defender Hans Hateboer then saw red after twice launching into heavy challenges on Saints man Redmond, with referee Jochem Kamphuis deciding to issue a second yellow card seven minutes before half-time.

    James Ward-Prowse then went close with a whipped free-kick, but Sergio Padt responded terrifically well to tip his strike over the crossbar.

    Virgil van Dijk threatened to make a spectacular breakthrough just after the interval, but saw his rasping effort fly wide against the side that gave him his premier appearance in professional football.

    Next up, Harrison Reed thumped a left-footed effort against the crossbar after Groningen failed to deal with a corner from Jake Hesketh.

    Van Dijk had another effort soon after, but this time Padt stood strong to deny the Dutchman's well-struck free-kick.

    With just 15 minutes left on the clock, Saints opened the scoring when Austin flicked a cross from Hesketh beyond the grasp of Padt and into the back of the net via the far post.

    Southampton worked a couple more openings in the latter stages of the match, but it ended with just one goal as Puel's men made it four wins out of four in preseason.



    SAINTS: Forster; Martina (Valery - 63'), Yoshida (HÝjbjerg - 46'), Van Dijk (Jones - 83'), Targett (McQueen - 6'); Romeu (Stephens - 68'); Ward-Prowse (Isgrove - 63'), Clasie (Reed - 63'); Tadić (Hesketh - 46'); Long (Austin - 46'), Redmond (Gallagher - 63').

    Unused Subs: Lewis.
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