Southampton FC defeat Monaco in pre-season in pre-season friendly

 

Goalscorer Adam Armstrong of Southampton celebrates with team mate of Monaco during the Pre-Season Friendly between Southampton and AS Monaco at St Mary's Stadium on July 27, 2022 in Southampton, England. 

Saints came from a goal down to beat Monaco 3-1 and earn their first win of the 2022-23 pre-season campaign thanks to second-half strikes from Adam Armstrong, Stuart Armstrong and James Ward-Prowse.

Aleksander Golovin gave Monaco the lead after 40 minutes when he beat Alex McCarthy at his near-post to punctuate a poor first half from Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side. 

But Saints looked a different team after the break and Armstrong’s second goal of pre-season - in the right place at the right time to tap home - drew them level.

Growing in confidence as the game wore on substitutes S Armstrong and James Ward-Prowse each smashed in impressive strikes to complete the turn-around.

Romain Perraud returned to the side after recovering from a broken foot suffered at the back-end of last season but Hasenhuttl stuck with the 5-3-2 system trialed through much of pre-season.

The Austrian opted for Nathan Redmond -himself playing his first minutes of pre-season - at right-wing-back opposite the Frenchman.

Former Saints loanee Takumi Minamino had the game’s first real chance just past the quarter-hour mark when he turned away from Lyanco in the box and struck the outside of the post from a tight angle. 

Adam Armstrong then tried his luck, shooting wide from 22 yards as Saints once again struggled to build any sort of consistent pressure.

Saints continued to find much of their limited joy from distance, Armstrong hitting another long-range effort too close to the Monaco keeper before Che Adams saw one deflected wide.

The visitors took the lead with five minutes to go before half-time, Golovin swinging his foot at a loose ball to beat McCarthy at his near post after Minamino toiled in the area.

Moussa Djenepo replaced Perraud at the break and his direct running at the Monaco defence started to up the tempo of Saints’ attacking play.

Hasenhuttl’s side started the second half with slightly more purpose and got back on level terms in the 52nd minute, Armstrong scoring his and his side’s second goal of pre-season. Redmond won the ball back high up the pitch and crossed for Elyounoussi whose shot was pushed back out to Armstrong to tap home.

Saints continued to push forward and were rewarded for their endeavor with just under 15 minutes to go. After a scramble in the box, the ball came out to Joe Aribo who beat his man and played it inside for Stuart Armstrong to turn and smash past Alexander Nubel.

Ward-Prowse then sealed the victory for his side when he completed a terrific counter-attack by side-footing into the bottom corner from just outside the box. 

The goal was made even more enjoyable by Monaco right-back Vanderson attempting to win a penalty with a blatant dive before pushing Oriol Romeu to kick-start Saints counter-attack.

An impressive second-half showing changed the complexion of what has been a rather dull and dark pre-season thus far, the three goals more than Saints had managed in their previous three games combined.

Hasenhuttl's side face Villareal next before the Premier League season starts on August 7, at Tottenham Hotspur.

Saints: McCarthy; Valery, Lyanco (Bella-Kotchap, 77), Stephens, Perraud (Djenepo, 46); Diallo, Romeu; Elyounoussi (Aribo, 65), Redmond (S. Armstrong, 70); Adams (Ward-Prowse, 65), A. Armstrong (Walker-Peters, 65)

Unused subs: Caballero, Salisu, Bednarek, Bella-Kotchap, Lavia

Monaco: Nubel, Vanderson, Maripan, Disasi, Ben Yedder, Henrique, Matazo, Golovin, Minamino, Fofana, Aguilar

 

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