Manchester United reached the last 32 of the Europa League on Thursday, but Southampton crashed out of the competition at St Mary’s Stadium.
Claude Puel’s side needed either a scoreless draw or a win over Israeli champions Hapoel Be’er Sheva to secure a place in the knockout stages and, for 78 minutes, it looked like the Saints would get the job done.
However, Maor Buzaglo netted with Hapoel’s one and only shot on target 12 minutes from time and, although Virgil van Dijk gave the hosts hope with an equaliser a minute into added time, it wasn’t to be for Puel’s men.
They finish their campaign with eight points from six games, which would have been enough for qualification in five other groups, and having conceded just four goals – only Schalke conceded less in the group stages.
Nonetheless, they won’t be joining Jose Mourinho’s United in Monday’s draw after the Red Devils secured second place in Group A courtesy of a 2-0 victory in Zorya.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan netted his first goal for the club three minutes into the second half, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his seventh goal in his last six matches to seal the win late on.
Victory for Fenerbahce away at Feyenoord means that they beat United to top spot, but Mourinho will be happy that his side negotiated a tricky group to make it to the last 32.
Unsurprisingly, yesterday’s game got many talking on Twitter, and United fans were satisfied with the result…
Great performance today, but we need to see more like this in the league! #mufc
— Thomas Secher (@FandangoFC) December 8, 2016
Good win and good performance tonight #MUFC
— Mike Bidgood (@BidgoodMike) December 8, 2016
Potential banana skin that but professional performance, nice to see HM get his 1st goal. Job done, a good nights work #mufc 🙂
— Utd Before Fergie (@UtdBeforeFergie) December 8, 2016
Decent performance tonight but not great, got the result which is what we haven't been doing lately #MUFC
— Dáire Ó hAinmhire® (@dohainmhire) December 8, 2016
While many admired Mkhitaryan’s excellence after the Armenian captain netted his first United goal and produced yet another man-of-the-match display…
Looks like Mkhitaryan cemented his starting spot. Has to be 1st name on the sheet. One of the best playmakers in the world. #MUFC
— MUFC (@20MUFC08) December 8, 2016
— Sam Atkin (@atkin91) December 8, 2016
So happy for Mkhitaryan. That goal shows us exactly what we knew he is. Magic. This makes him undroppable. Deserves it. Good night! #mufc
— Rajan (@WhizKidTV) December 8, 2016
Mkhitaryan deserves to be in that starting 11 now no question. #mufc
— ⛄️Real Man Utd fan☃ (@Evil_Martial) December 8, 2016
But it was a night to forget for Southampton fans, who were hugely disappointed with their side’s effort at St Mary’s yesterday, and some questioned the tactics implemented by manager Puel…
— sarah (@SarahDaly12_) December 8, 2016
Tactically it was very wrong tonight – didn't go out and attack them like we needed to. #saintsfc
— Luke Philip (@lukephilip94) December 8, 2016
I can take losing/drawing when out played, but why does our urgency and real pressing only come after we've conceded a goal? #saintsfc
— Charlie Tre-Vett (@charlie_bear86) December 9, 2016
It's not that we went out so much, it's how we went out. Played for the draw and showed no passion until we were 1-0 down #saintsfc
— Catherine Collins (@CathLCollins) December 8, 2016
And some even feel that time is up for Puel after an indifferent run of form…
Puel out #saintsfc
— Jordan Stevens (@JordanStevens92) December 8, 2016
— Joe Wilson (@JoeWilson1988) December 8, 2016
Puel out losing to palace then getting knocked out poor left the goal to late we did not play for a win! No passion or fight #saintsfc
— Jamie Son (@jamie_son123) December 9, 2016