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Europa League: Inter Milan 1-0 Southampton

Southampton struggled in front of goal, as they fell 1-0 at Inter Milan in Europa League action.

FC Internazionale Milano v Southampton FC - UEFA Europa League Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

10-man Inter Milan held on to defeat Southampton 1-0 at the San Siro in Europe League Group K.

Southampton, who were without Nathan Redmond, Matt Targett and Cedric Soares, had their six-match unbeaten run ended and suffered a first loss in the competition.

A discombobulated Inter side earned their first points having dropped the opening two games and is a point adrift from second place in the group.

Elsewhere, Sparta Prague beat Hapoel Be’er Sheva to climb to the top of Group K.

Controversial Mauro Icardi nearly helped the hosts to an early opening goal when he intercepted a poor pass, but Fraser Forster prevented the back heel from reaching an oncoming teammate.

Jay Rodriguez then latched onto a ball over the top from Virgil van Dijk, as Southampton grabbed control of possession inside 10 minutes, only for indecision causing him to lose out.

With the visitors maintaining the intensity, James Ward-Prowse saw his free-kick evade a charging van Dijk before missing a sliding Romeu on 22 minutes.

Yuto Nagatomo kept the ball off the line after Samir Handanovic’s 28th-minute clearance bounced off Rodriguez and back towards the goal, as he attacked Sam McQueen’s cross.

Southampton continued to manufacture chances around the box and thought Rodriguez had put them ahead on 38 minutes, but he was unable to get a foot onto Shane Long’s flick on at the back post.

Against the run of play, meanwhile, Eder fired wide of the post shortly before halftime, as Inter looked to make Southampton rue their missed opportunities.

The Saints were forced into an early second half change when Shane Long went down with a hamstring injury and his replacement, Charlie Austin, narrowly missed the upright in the 57th minute.

But Candreva made the break-through for the hosts on 67 minutes when he turned in a left-footed strike off the underside of the bar.

Marcelo Brozovic, who was already carded, was shown a second yellow in the 77th minute for a challenge on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before van Dijk forced a point-blank save from the resulting free-kick, as Southampton looked for an equaliser.

Inter preserved their lead when van Dijk had his header cleared off the line by Nagatomo whilst Austin had his attempt saved by a sprawling Handanovic.

Inter Milan: Handanovic, Nagatomo (D’Ambrosio 90), Mirando, Murillo, Santon, Medel, Gnoukouri, Brozovic, Candreva (Ansaldi 81), Eder (Perisic 86), Icardi.

Unused subs: Carrizo, Palacio, Banega, Yao.

Goals: Candreva (67).

Bookings: Brozovic (58, 77), Medel (84).

Southampton: Forster, McQueen, van Dijk, Yoshida, Martina, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Tadic (Boufal 74), Rodriguez (Davis 78), Long (Austin 48).

Unused subs: McCarthy, Fonte, Stephens, Clasie.

Goals: None.

Bookings: Hojbjerg (86).