Milan - Under-pressure Frank de Boer saw his Inter Milan side hold on with 10
men to beat Premier League outfit Southampton 1-0 in their Europa
League clash at San Siro on Thursday.
Antonio Candreva got the
only goal of the game midway through the second half for the Serie A
club, who were forced to play out the final 13 minutes a man down after
Marcelo Brozovic was sent off.
It was a cruel result for
Southampton, who had been the better side and saw Jay Rodriguez have a
goal disallowed early in the second half.
The result sees Saints
remain on four points in Group K, two points behind Sparta Prague, who
beat Hapoel Beer-Sheva 1-0 in Israel.
"It's very tough, to concede a goal with their only chance is frustrating," away captain Virgil van Dijk told BT Sport.
what happens when you don't score your chances. We had so many
opportunities to win the game, but now we need to move on."
Inter, it was a first three points in the competition and the win
against a team in good form in the Premier League should buy Dutch coach
De Boer some time as the Nerazzurri struggle for results.
faith in my players. We have lacked concentration in other games, but
today we played with discipline for the entire match," De Boer said.
"I want to see us play with that malice all the time. It's fundamental."
Mauro Icardi, forced to issue an apology to fans in midweek and promise
to reprint his autobiography after including an allegedly distorted
description of a 2015 altercation with the club's hardline 'ultra'
supporters, started for the hosts.
Southampton boss Claude Puel
made a host of changes to the team that beat Burnley at the weekend,
including giving a first start at left-back to the young Sam McQueen.
had the air of an historic evening for the English side, who were in
the third tier when Inter won the Champions League in 2010.
army of seven thousand travelling fans from England helped generate an
atmosphere at a largely empty San Siro, but the Saints supporters were
left frustrated by their team's inability to translate their dominance
Yuto Nagatomo had to clear off the line to prevent
goalkeeper Samir Handanovic deflecting a McQueen cross into his own net
just before the half-hour, and James Ward-Prowse fired narrowly over
after being set up by the impressive Cuco Martina.
sliding in at the back post, was then just unable to get a touch after
Shane Long had flicked on a Martina cross, while all Inter offered in
the first half was an Eder strike that flashed narrowly past.
visitors replaced the injured Long with Charlie Austin just after
half-time before Rodriguez had the ball in the net in the 51st minute.
he had been prevented from getting a shot away by a great Joao Miranda
tackle, he headed in from the subsequent corner but the Lithuanian
referee's whistle had already blown for an apparent foul by the striker.
went on to take the lead on 67 minutes as Davide Santon delivered a low
ball from the left and Candreva came across Van Dijk to finish
emphatically into the roof of the net past Fraser Forster.
midfielder Brozovic was dismissed for a second yellow for catching
Pierre Hojbjerg, and Southampton laid siege to the home goal in the
However, Van Dijk was denied by Handanovic at point-blank range and then saw a header cleared off the line.
Handanovic produced a great save from Austin before Ward-Prowse volleyed just past in the 95th minute.
Saints will hope to gain revenge when the teams meet again at St Mary's in two weeks.