High-flying Southampton were held 0-0 against Hapoel Be’er Sheva at Turner Stadium in the Europa League’s Group K.
Southampton, who remains top of the group, and Hapoel Be’er Sheva improved to four points after opening wins in the competition over Sparta Praha and Inter Milan, respectively.
Saints boss Claude Puel left regulars Jose Fonte, Shane Long, Steven Davis and Ryan Bertrand in England, as he continued to rotate his squad to handle the clutter of fixtures, which sees Southampton travel to Leicester City on Sunday.
Virgil van Dijk nearly set the visitors on their way when he rose to meet James Ward Prowse’s free kick, but the defender’s header went over the goal in the 5th minute.
The hosts then twice tested Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster from outside the box in the span of six minutes, which he covered easily.
Maharan Radi thrashed an effort into the ground on 10 minutes before Anthony Nwakaeme, who had been lively, turned onto his right foot and fired into Forster’s grasp.
Puel made a tactical change in the 34th minute bringing on Dusan Tadic for Jake Hesketh with the former having been relegated to the bench after playing eighty minutes against West Ham.
Southampton sustained pressure to start the second half, but it was Ward-Prowse who ran past three defenders at the other end before striking an effort on target from distance in the 51st minute.
Maor Melikson had a chance to push Be’er Sheva ahead when he fired across the mouth of goal on 67 minutes, but substitute Ben Sahar failed to get a toe on it at the back post.
With hardly any threat on over the final quarter hour, Ovidiu Hoban looped an effort on target that forced Forster to pushed it behind for a corner to keep it 0-0.
Hapoel Be’er Sheva: Goresh, Taha, Vitor, Tzedek, Korhut, Bitton, Ogu, Radi (Hoban 80), Nwakaeme, Melikson (c) (Bar Buzaglo 70), Maranhao (Sahar 63).
Unused subs: Haimov (GK), Broun, Ohayon, Shabtay.
Bookings: Vitor, Sahar.
Southampton: Forster, Targett, Yoshida, Van Dijk (c), Martina, Oriol, Clasie, Ward-Prowse, Hesketh (Tadic 35), Redmond (Hojbjerg 85), Long.
Unused subs: McCarthy (GK), Cedric, Reed, Stevens, Olomola.