Saints beaten in pre-season opener

By SFC Media time Sat 16 Jul RB Leipzig vs Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Gavin Bazunu
Sat 16 Jul 1PM
Friendlies
RB Leipzig
3
Southampton
1
Angeliño [54'] Forsberg [68'] Moriba [90']
goal
A. Armstrong [65']
yellow card
Bednarek [2']
Venue: Lavanttal-Arena | Attendance: 0

Southampton’s pre-season campaign began with a 3-1 defeat to RB Leipzig in a 105-minute contest at Lavanttal-Arena.

All five of the club’s summer signings played some part, with Gavin Bazunu making a spectacular save early in a goalless first half.

Leipzig, who finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season, took the lead nine minutes into the second period when former Manchester City left-back Angeliño arrowed a free-kick into the bottom corner.

A Saints side showing a raft of changes drew level through Adam Armstrong’s glancing header on 65 minutes, but Emil Forsberg immediately restored Leipzig’s lead, before Ilaix Moriba finished the job with a stunning late third from distance.

Saints started the match with four debutants in their starting line-up, with Bazunu in goal, Armel Bella-Kotchap on the right side of a three-man defence, Roméo Lavia partnering Ibrahima Diallo in midfield, and Joe Aribo on the right of a front three spearheaded by Nathan Tella.

There was an early moment of alarm when captain Jan Bednarek tugged back Alexander Sørloth, going into the book inside two minutes, before Forsberg’s resulting free-kick was deflected wide.

WOLFSBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 16: Joe Aribo during the pre-season friendly match between RB Leipzig and Southampton FC, at the Lavanttal-Arena, on July 16, 2022 in Wolfsberg, Austria. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Joe Aribo was one of five Saints debutants, as the club showed off its new away strip for the first time

Bazunu’s first involvement was mightily impressive – a flying one-handed save high to his left to thwart Dominik Szoboszlai’s fierce first-time shot from 25 yards that was bound for the top corner.

Saints responded with some neat link-up play between Kyle Walker-Peters and Aribo near the corner flag, opening up space for Diallo to let fly with a cleanly-struck left-footed shot that rose just over the angle of post and bar.

With both sides contesting their first friendly of the summer, a drinks break was called after 26 minutes – a welcome opportunity to take a breather in the 26°C heat of southern Austria.

Saints were more energised after the break, as Moussa Djenepo broke down the left and crossed low for Tella, who mistimed his effort from a promising position, before Lavia confidently strode forward and drilled a low shot wide from the edge of the box.

Bazunu’s afternoon was cut short at half time, having claimed a couple of crosses with authority, as Alex McCarthy donned the gloves for the second period.

Unfortunately, the substitute was picking the ball out of his net within nine minutes, as Angeliño arrowed a low free-kick around the wall and into the bottom corner after Sørloth was upended by Mohammed Salisu.

Leipzig, Europa League semi-finalists and German Cup winners last season, immediately made half a dozen changes to their side, while Ralph Hasenhüttl introduced a whole new outfield XI on the hour.

WOLFSBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 16: Adam Armstrong celebrates during the pre-season friendly match between RB Leipzig and Southampton FC, at the Lavanttal-Arena, on July 16, 2022 in Wolfsberg, Austria. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Adam Armstrong celebrates Saints' first goal of pre-season to equalise 20 minutes into the second half

It did not take long for the new-look Saints to make their mark, as Will Smallbone’s teasing cross from the right was cleverly glanced in at the near post by Armstrong, whose deft touch found the net via the inside of the far post.

Parity was short-lived, as Forsberg latched on to a clever reverse pass from Dani Olmo and drove a low shot across McCarthy to restore the Germans’ lead three minutes later.

The electrifying start to the second half gave way to a gentler pace thereafter, but Moriba signed off in style with a spectacular long-range strike that flew past the helpless McCarthy with the last kick of the 90 minutes.

An additional 15-minute period was to follow, meaning the majority of Saints’ outfield substitutes were afforded 45 minutes of action.

In goal, Mateusz Lis became the club’s fifth debutant of the day, instantly making a smart save low to his left to deny Xavier Schlager, while youngster Diamond Edwards took the tally of Saints player involvements to 24.

Smallbone, who created the goal for Armstrong, nearly repeated the trick with a low ball to the far post that was lifted over the crossbar by Thierry Small from close range, leaving the 17-year-old frustrated with himself despite the tight angle.

RB Leipzig

1
Peter Gulásci (GK) (C)
replace Janis Blaswich (56′)
3
Angeliño goal
replace Benjamin Henrichs (70′)
4
Willi Orbán
replace Nordi Mukiele (56′)
10
Emil Forsberg goal
replace Ilaix Moriba (70′) goal
16
Lukas Klostermann
replace Mohamed Simakan (38′)
17
Dominik Szoboszlai
replace Xavier Schlager (70′)
23
Marcel Halstenberg
replace Hugo Novoa (56′)
25
Sanoussy Ba
replace Brian Brobbey (86′)
27
Konrad Laimer
replace Dani Olmo (56′)
35
Alexander Sørloth
replace Christopher Nkunku (56′)
44
Kevin Kampl
replace Amadou Haidara (56′)
21
Janis Blaswich
34
Jonas Nickisch
2
Mohamed Simakan
7
Dani Olmo
8
Amadou Haidara
18
Christopher Nkunku
19
André Silva
38
Hugo Novoa
39
Benjamin Henrichs
26
Ilaix Moriba
28
Brian Brobbey
22
Nordi Mukiele
24
Xavier Schlager

Southampton

31
Gavin Bazunu (GK)
replace Alex McCarthy (46′) replace Mateusz Lis (91′)
2
Kyle Walker-Peters
replace Yan Valery (60′) replace Diamond Edwards (91′)
37
Armel Bella-Kotchap
replace Jack Stephens (60′)
35
Jan Bednarek (C) yellow card
replace Lyanco (60′)
22
Mohammed Salisu
replace Dynel Simeu (60′)
19
Moussa Djenepo
replace Thierry Small (60′)
27
Ibrahima Diallo
replace Will Smallbone (60′)
45
Roméo Lavia
replace Oriol Romeu (60′)
24
Mohamed Elyounoussi
replace Stuart Armstrong (60′)
7
Joe Aribo
replace Adam Armstrong (60′) goal
23
Nathan Tella
replace Ché Adams (60′)
1
Alex McCarthy
13
Willy Caballero
30
Mateusz Lis
4
Lyanco
5
Jack Stephens
43
Yan Valery
38
Dynel Simeu
16
Thierry Small
6
Oriol Romeu
20
Will Smallbone
17
Stuart Armstrong
66
Diamond Edwards
9
Adam Armstrong
10
Ché Adams
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