Europa League Away Inter Milan Lost 1 – 0
If the Be’er Sheva fixture sorted out the men from the boys, the boys were out in force for the next Europa League game, Internazionale at San Siro Stadio and confidently billed by the Saints web site as the club’s first competitive encounter with Serie A opposition: well, that’s not true, but presumably the Anglo Italian Cup Winners Cup ties with Napoli didn’t register on their Google search. The San Siro is as impressive inside as out, although the words shabby and inadequate spring to mind when it comes to ingress and egress. But over 6,700 Saints fans weren’t there to consider stadium architecture and they weren’t let down by the team. That was despite a dodgy early back pass by Yoshida that went to Icardo and a ring rusty showing by Rodriguez who partnered Long up front. J-Rod had the first half’s best openings but he couldn’t quite get on the end of what came his way, although he did get the ball beyond star ‘keeper Handanović only for it to be hacked clear. The striker’s evening was to get even more frustrating after the break as he had what seemed a perfectly good headed goal from a corner disallowed. Inter are having a troubled season but their European campaign was given a kick start by a very good finish by Candreva from a situation that hadn’t looked at all threatening. It should have shown Saints how to break their duck but Van Dijk wasn’t paying attention and he should have done more than force a save when put clear by Ward-Prowse’s clever free kick. By now the Nerazzurri were down to ten after a second caution for Brozović while Austin was on for the injured Long. Having the extra man allowed Big Dick to spend the final stages up front where he was to be denied again by Handanović, and Austin forced an even better save from Inter’s top man; we even caught a glimpse of record signing Boufal but his first ever touch in red & white was not great, appearing to trip over the ball! The Serie A side were frustratingly capable when it came to running the clock down and their ten men denied Saints what the performance had deserved, despite some near things in the closing stages. The headline in Gazzetta Dello Sport summed it up: Inter Fiuuu!
LSSC Man of the Match: James Ward-Prowse who was also the Gazzetta’s main man for Saints with 7 out of 10 and beaten only by Handanović with 7.5. A shame JW-P was off target with his shooting, though.