Saints see off Celta Vigo

By SFC Media time Wed 01 Aug Saints v Celta Vigo
Photo by Matt Watson
Wed 01 Aug 7.45PM
Celta Vigo
Austin [55'] Armstrong [59'] Elyounoussi [90']
Sisto [11'] Aspas [42']
Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 0

Saints overturned a first-half deficit to seal a 3-2 win against La Liga outfit Celta Vigo at St Mary's in their penultimate pre-season friendly fixture.

Matt Targett assisted Saints' first two strikes, with Charlie Austin and Stuart Armstrong providing the finishes, before Mo Elyounoussi clinched a late winner in the 90th minute.

Vigo's danger men Pione Sisto and Iago Aspas had given the visitors a two goal cushion entering the break, with two individual moments of class, but a gritty second half performance from Mark Hughes's side was enough to earn victory under the lights at St Mary's.

Saints now prepare for the final dress rehearsal before their opening Premier League clash by entertaining Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday, ahead of hosting Burnley at St Mary's on August 12th.

Summer acquisition Jannik Vestergaard was handed a home debut on the night, while Jan Bednarek continued as part of a back three, with one change to the side that ran out comfortable winners against Dijon four days prior - Steven Davis replacing Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.

Saints, playing their first home fixture of the pre-season calendar, began well, but were tested early, with a delivery from the right by Jozabed, who found Gustavo Cabral's head, but the defender sent a clumsy header wayward.

Beginning to control the game, Saints had a golden opportunity to edge in front in the sixth minute. Armstrong had released Ryan Bertrand down the left, who teased a cross to the back post, where young Sam McQueen threw his head at the ball, ultimately with too much power, diverting it off target.

The hosts were looking confident in possession, with the formation allowing Bertrand and McQueen to venture forward often, and to good effect. The Spaniards weren't without their own threat, though, and sensed an opportunity to launch a counter in the 11th minute.

Sisto collected the ball, in a relatively harmless position, before darting forwards, stepping inside to create a yard of space, and curling a sublime effort into the far corner from an angle. Alex McCarthy was powerless, such was the pace and accuracy on the ball, as the visitors stole an early lead.

Not to be shaken by the early blow, Saints continued to threaten, with both Oriol Romeu and Armstrong attempting shots from distance. Neither troubled Sergio Álvarez, but showed a real willingness to commit bodies forward, in search of an equaliser.

Just after the half hour mark, and the hosts were again probing. Manolo Gabbiadini's hold up play was effective, as he waited patiently for the arrival of Shane Long, before rolling the ball invitingly into his path. The Irishman hit the shot first time, but was unfortunate to see it crash off the crossbar.

Vigo, with plenty of their own talent on show, were too displaying promising signs, and made the second breakthrough in 42nd minute. Spanish international Aspas negotiated his way into the penalty area, before disguising the finish and sending the ball beyond McCarthy to end the first half action.

Changes afoot at the break, as Austin, Højbjerg, Targett and Angus Gunn entered the fray, all keen to get a decent helping of match minutes.

And their influence was felt a mere nine minutes into the second period. With two substitutes combining, Targett whipped a tempting delivery towards Austin, who provided a clever headed finish, rising highest and nodding past Álvarez to halve the deficit.

Buoyed by the first, Saints soon had their second goal. Targett was again the provider, as the wide man spotted the late run of Armstrong who took the ball in his stride and effortlessly found the bottom corner, all in one swift motion.

Second half solace for Saints, then, who had drawn level within the first fifteen minutes of the restart. And before long, new boy Elyounoussi, greeted with a warm reception by the St Mary's crowd, had a chance to make an impact from the subs bench, but the eventual shot was charged down.

Not to be deterred, the Norwegian continued to push forward, and got his rewards seconds before the final whistle. James Ward-Prowse had hit a powerful shot from range, which struck the inside of the post, and rebounded into the path of poacher Elyounoussi, who did well to hold his position and react ahead of Cabral.

Back-to-back friendly wins will provide plenty of confidence for Hughes's men heading into their final pre-season tie, as St Mary's welcomes Borussia Mönchengladbach in three days time.


Alex McCarthy (GK)
replace Angus Gunn (45′)
Jannik Vestergaard
Wesley Hoedt
Shane Long
replace Charlie Austin (45′) goal
Steven Davis
replace Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (45′)
Oriol Romeu
replace James Ward-Prowse (77′)
Stuart Armstrong goal
replace Mo Elyounoussi (60′) goal
Manolo Gabbiadini
replace Sam Gallagher (77′)
Ryan Bertrand (C)
replace Harrison Reed (81′)
Jan Bednarek
replace Jack Stephens (60′)
Sam McQueen
replace Matt Targett (45′)
Angus Gunn
Harry Lewis
Jack Stephens
Charlie Austin
Mo Elyounoussi
James Ward-Prowse
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
Harrison Reed
Sam Gallagher
Matt Targett
Josh Sims

Celta Vigo

Sergio Álvarez Conde (GK)
Hugo Mallo (C)
Néstor Arujo
Iago Aspas goal
Pione Sisto goal
Claudio Beauvue
Stanislav Lobitka
David Juncà
Gustavo Cabral
Facundo Roncaglia
Juan Hernández García
Borja Fernández
Róbert Mazáň
Andrew Hjulsager
David Costas
Kevin Vázquez Comesaña
Brais Méndez
Ivan Villar
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