Southampton 3-0 Vitesse Arnhem
Southampton made a successful return to European competition by beating Vitesse Arnhem in the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie.
Playing their first Euro tie since 2003, Graziano Pelle opened the scoring with a right-foot shot after Sadio Mane's neat ball in.
Dusan Tadic converted a penalty to double the lead after Mane was tripped in the area on the stroke of half-time.
Substitutes Shane Long and Juanmi combined late on as Long headed home.
It was Saints' first win in European competition since 1981 and the two sides will meet again in the return leg in Arnhem next Thursday with Ronald Koeman's side in a strong position.
Progression there would send them into a play-off tie for a place in the group stages.
Patience pays off for Saints
Vitesse, roared on by a travelling contingent of 1,500 supporters, started the more composed on the ball as the hosts spurned early chances from a Maya Yoshida header and Victor Wanyama's shot inside the penalty area.
But, just as Southampton looked to be out of ideas, Pelle was on hand to give them the lead after 36 minutes from Mane's brilliantly-weighted pass.
|Long time coming|
|Their win over Vitesse was Southampton's first since beating Irish side Limerick 3-0 away from home in the first round of the Uefa Cup in September 1981.|
|Since then they have failed to win in nine matches in continental competition, a run that comprises the second leg against Limerick and two-legged ties against Sporting Lisbon, IFK Norrkoping, Hamburg and Steaua Bucharest.|
Mane then found himself in the action again when his surge into the area was abruptly ended by a clumsy challenge from Vitesse left-back Rochdi Achenteh.
Tadic stepped forward to send Room the wrong way and Southampton in to the break with a 2-0 lead.
The goals knocked the stuffing out of Vitesse who rarely threatened until substitute Milot Rashica slipped the offside trap but was denied by Maarten Stekelenburg.
As Vitesse searched for an away goal to get back into the tie, Southampton countered. Long raced through on goal only for Eloy Room to block his effort.
Juanmi showed awareness and composure to round the goalkeeper before squaring to find Long's head for an easy finish into the open goal.
New Saints catch the eye
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman handed debuts to new signings Stekelenburg in goal, Cedric Soares at right-back and Jordy Clasie in midfield.
Spanish striker Juanmi and Curacao defender Cuco Martina were named on the bench.
|Southampton's summer signings|
|Cedric Soares||Sporting Lisbon||£4.7m|
Netherlands international Stekelenburg was given an early scare when Vitesse striker Valeri Kazaishvili flashed a right-foot shot just wide of the post.
But the visitors failed to test him again before the break and rarely did so in the second-half.
Cedric showed the greatest promise in the early exchanges, surging forward to join in in attack, while Clasie, a member of the Netherlands squad that finished third at the 2014 World Cup, was guilty of giving the ball away cheaply on a number of occasions.
Juanmi made an immediate impression with the home supporters after his awareness put the third goal of the night on a plate for fellow substitute Long.
Vitesse's Chelsea connection falls flat
The visitors, playing their first European tie for two years, lined up with two Chelsea loanees.
Lewis Baker and Isaiah Brown are the latest to tread the familiar path between Stamford Bridge and Arnhem - and they were side-by-side in central midfield for the visitors.
A third Chelsea loanee, striker Danilo Pantic, was introduced as a second-half substitute.
But Baker was at fault for the third goal, giving the ball away to Long.
Vitesse manager Peter Bosz was philosophical about his side's shortcomings.
"When you are young, you have to learn from your mistakes," he said.
"Lewis make a mistake, but he will learn from that experience. Isaiah played a good game but it wasn't an easy night for him."
Koeman finds fault in Saints' victory
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman: "It's never over in football, but the final score tonight is a very good one for us.
"I wasn't happy with the second half. We were a bit lucky to get a third goal with a mistake from Vitesse late on.
"We had a difficult start and took time to settle in to the game but we controlled the game well after that."
- 2Cédric Soares
- 6José Fonte
- 8DavisBooked at 49mins
- 4ClasieSubstituted forJuanmiat 62'minutes
- 10ManéSubstituted forReedat 86'minutes
- 11TadicBooked at 60minsSubstituted forLongat 63'minutes
- 19PellèBooked at 81mins
- 17DiksSubstituted forLelieveldat 90+2'minutes
- 35AchentehBooked at 45mins
- 10QazaishviliSubstituted forPanticat 67'minutes
- 7BrownBooked at 63mins
- 9DjurdjevicSubstituted forRashicaat 61'minutes
- 3van der Werff
- Jesús Gil Manzano
- Shots on Target