Saints ease past Sparta

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Southampton's English striker Charlie Austin scores the opening goal from a penalty during the UEFA Europa League group K football match between Southampton and Sparta Prague at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on September 15, 2016. / AFP / GLYN KIRK (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Post published:September 16, 2016

Southampton welcomed Sparta Prague to St Mary’s on Thursday as the English club coasted to a convincing 3-0 win in the Europa League.

The game got off to a dramatic start as the hosts were controversially awarded a penalty after just four minutes, with Costa Nhamoinesu adjudged to have handled a cross. Charlie Austin duly stepped up and slotted the penalty home, giving the Saints an early lead.

Austin was proving a handful for the Czech side’s defence as he came close to poking home a second after 16-minutes. The Striker did grab his and his side’s second 10-minutes later, however, as he headed home a cross.

The whistle sounded for half-time with the score reading 2-0 and with the Saints in complete control.

The second period began at a leisurely tempo as Southampton moved the ball around with ease in search of openings while Sparta looked neat and tidy themselves but failed to threaten.

Sparta had a rare chance with 67 minutes gone as Fraser Forster was called upon to stop a powerful shot from range. With the Czech side putting together a good spell with time running out, the Saints were happy to sit back and try hit their opposition on the break.

With the game entering extra-time there was joy for Jay Rodriguez as he caressed home his side’s third to put the gloss on the victory.

At full time the score remained 3-0 in favour of the Saints.