Celtic, Sevilla and Basle qualify for Europa League last-32

Southampton crash out of Europa League after draw

09/12/2016

Toothless Southampton missed the chance for a best European run since 1977 after Israeli minnows Hapoel Be'er Sheva drew 1-1 at St Mary's to knock them out of the Europa League.

The hosts needed a goalless draw to progress to the last 32 of Europe's second-tier competition, but Oriol Romeu's mistake enabled Hapoel to progress instead.

Forward Maor Buzaglo angled home the vital goal that guided Hapoel to the knockout stages in their first Europa League campaign.

Virgil van Dijk scrambled a Saints equaliser in added time -- but Hapoel claimed second place in Group K owing to the away goal that secured a superior head-to-head with Saints.

Southampton paid the price for botching a host of half-chances as they crashed out of the competition to a team with an annual estimated wage bill of just ??10million.

Hapoel, who landed Israel's league title for the first time in 40 years last season, carried their fairytale story to another level on England's south coast.

Saints boss Claude Puel was left fuming by his ineffective side, who compounded their 3-0 Premier League loss at Crystal Palace with another lacklustre loss.

Nine-goal leading scorer Charlie Austin suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder, meaning the night could hardly have gone worse for Saints.

Sluggish transition passing and ineffective midfield positioning weighed them down in a low-quality first half.

Austin twice lost his marker at corners but failed to trouble goalkeeper David Goresh with either header.

He nodded the second effort wide and then landed in a heap on his right side with the injury.

Genuine goalscoring chances proved few and far between in a meagre opening, with Josh Sims at least hitting the target with a tame back-header.

Nathan Redmond had a 20-yard strike palmed away with ease, having failed to spot the overlapping Ryan Bertrand in acres of space.

Saints remained off-kilter after the break, Van Dijk unable to pounce on a loose ball in the box and Pierre Hojbjerg blasting an ambitious volley into the stands.

Shane Long's movement added a modicum of zip, but the Republic of Ireland striker squandered a fine chance.

The 29-year-old spun off his marker to meet Bertrand's low first-time cross on the run at the near post -- only to flick the ball wide.

Replacement Dusan Tadic had a deflected shot headed clear by Ben Bitton just past the hour as Saints continued to press.

And Van Dijk wasted another fine opening by failing to connect with Redmond's corner when unmarked in the six-yard box.

Just when Saints expected to close out the tie and progress to the next round however, disaster struck.

Romeu gifted Yuval Shabtai the ball on the edge of his own area and the Hapoel replacement provided the pivotal assist with his first touch of the ball.

Buzaglo steadied himself and drove his low shot past Fraser Forster.

Saints finally rallied, with Van Dijk prodding home a scrambled equaliser in added time. Maya Yoshida even had time to waste another glorious chance, heading wide.

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