Uefa Europa League: Southampton beat struggling Inter Milan, Aduriz makes history in Athletic romp
Saints close in on place in the knockout rounds with win over managerless Serie A outfit as Bilbao put five past Genk
Southampton closed in on a place in the knockout rounds as they came from behind to beat managerless Inter Milan 2-1 at a packed St Mary’s. Inter travelled to England without a coach after sacking Frank de Boer on Tuesday.
Stefano Vecchi took interim charge and saw his side go in front just after the half-hour mark when Mauro Icardi converted the loose ball after Cuco Martina had blocked from Ivan Perisic. Southampton could have levelled in first-half stoppage time, but after Perisic handled in the area, Dusan Tadic’s penalty was saved by Samir Handanovic.
However, Southampton came roaring back in the second half. Skipper Virgil van Dijk equalised on 64 minutes, finishing after an Oriol Romeu flick came back off the bar. And the winner arrived in fortuitous fashion six minutes later when a Tadic cross from the left was deflected through to the back post where Yuto Nagatomo turned the ball into his own net.
Saints are second in the group, two points behind Sparta Prague, who won 2-0 at home to Hapoel Beer-Sheva.
Veteran striker Aritz Aduriz made history as he scored all five goals for Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish club’s 5-3 win against Genk of Belgium in group F. The 35-year-old had a hat-trick by half-time at San Mames, got his fourth goal in the 74th minute and completed a rare nap-hand by netting from the spot – his third penalty – in stoppage time.
Aduriz is the first player to score five goals in a Europa League match and the first to score a hat-trick of penalties in the competition.
The last player to score five in a game in the old Uefa Cup was the Italian Fabrizio Ravanelli for Juventus against CSKA Sofia in 1994.
The tally doubled Aduriz’s tally for the season to 10 goals in all competitions.
The Basque club are second in group F with six points, behind Genk on goal difference and a point clear of both Sassuolo and Rapid Vienna, who drew 2-2 in Italy.
Two weeks after losing 2-1 at home to Zenit St Petersburg, Dundalk again came up just short against the Russians as they went down by the same score at a freezing Petrovsky stadium.
Brazil international Giuliano, who netted the winner in Dublin, scored both goals for Zenit either side of a strike by Daryl Horgan, who was this week named in the Republic of Ireland squad for their World Cup qualifier against Austria.
Zenit have the maximum 12 points from four games and became the first team to secure a place in the last 32. Dundalk remain in contention to qualify too – they are level on four points with Maccabi Tel Aviv, who drew 0-0 with AZ Alkmaar in Israel.
The Lilywhites, who last weekend lifted the League of Ireland trophy for the third year running, have no time to rest as they face Cork City in the FAI Cup final on Sunday.