Europa League: Southampton 3-0 Vitesse Arnhem

Southampton marked their return to European football with a 3-0 win over Vitesse in the first-leg of Europa League third-round qualification at St Mary’s.

Graziano Pelle’s right-footed strike on 36 minutes opened the tie while Dusan Tadic doubled the advantage from the spot on the stroke of halftime and Shane Long added a third after the break.

Southampton, who last played in European competition in 2001, handed debuts to Maarten Stekelenburg, Jordy Clasie, Cedric Soares and Juamni.

The two sides will meet in Arnhem, Netherlands for the second-leg next Thursday with Saints in position to progress to the group stage.

Vitesse’s Valeri Kazaishvili early opportunity fizzed across goal in the 7th minute and the visitors would threaten little afterward, recording a lone shot on target.

Southampton dictated play with Maya Yoshida and Victor Wanyama forcing Eloy Room into saves in the 13th and 22nd minute, respectively.

Shortly after a save on Steven Davis, Sadio Mane collected a pass from the wing before playing in Pelle who powered a shot past the keeper.

Mane was then awarded a penalty, which was converted by Tadic, in the 45th minute after the Senegalese international was bundled over by Rochdi Achenteh.

The hosts asserted their dominance at the start of the second half with Pelle firing over the bar but a double substitution after the hour mark briefly put Vitesse in the ascendancy.

On-loan midfielder Danilo Pantic was denied in the 71st minute when his attempt was held by Stekelenburg.

Two second half substitutes combined for Southampton’s third goal with Long capitalising on a defensive error.

The forward’s initial effort was saved but Juanmi latched onto the ball before crossing into Long who finished the play.

Southampton: Stekelenberg, Targett, Yoshida, Fonte (c), Cedric, Wanyama, Clasie (Juanmi 62’), Davis, Mane (Reed 86’), Tadic (Long 63’), Pelle.
Unusued subs: Gazzaniga, Martina, Ward-Prowse, McCarthy.
Bookings: Davis, Tadic, Pelle.

Vitesse: Room, Diks (Lelieveld 92’), Kashia, Leerdan, Achenteh, Baker, Nakamba, Kazaishvili (Pantic 67’), Brown, Djurdjevic (Rashica 61’), Oliynyk.
Unused subs: Van der Werff, Dauda, Velthuzien, Osman.
Bookings: Achenteh, Brown.

Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano
Attendance: 30,850

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