Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Long winner ensures Saints end pre-season unbeaten

SoccerNews in La Liga 7 Aug 2016

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Shane Long scored the only goal as Claude Puel’s Southampton completed an unbeaten pre-season with a 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.

Southampton lost manager Ronald Koeman and several key first-team players since the end of last season, but their friendly form under new boss Puel has been impressive with the Saints winning four of five matches and conceding only twice.

The run never looked like ending at St Mary’s Stadium, with a dominant first-half display capped by Long’s goal in the 43rd minute.

Close-season signing Nathan Redmond had been denied by a combination of the goalkeeper and the post shortly before, but Long raced onto a hopeful pass from Steven Davis to neatly finish from outside the area.

Jeremy Pied made his Saints debut in the second half, while they welcomed back captain Jose Fonte after his Euro 2016 success with Portugal, but they could not find a second goal.

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