28 Jul 2022 | 08:55 | Football
SAINTS came on from a goal to beat Monaco 3-1 and take their first win of the 2022-23 pre-season thanks to the second half. strike by Adam Armstrong, Stuart Armstrong and James Ward-Prowse.
Aleksander Golovin put Monaco ahead in the 40th minute as he beat Alex McCarthy at close range to break Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side’s poor first half.
But St looked after another team after the break and Armstrong’s second goal of pre-season – in the right place at the right time to go home – helped lift them up.
Confidence grew as the game featured substitutes S Armstrong and James Ward-Prowse, each with impressive shots to complete the first leg.
Romain Perraud is back in action after recovering from a foot injury at the end of last season but Hasenhuttl remains stuck with the 5-3-2 system that has been tested for most of pre-season.
The Austrian chose Nathan Redmond – he played the first minutes of the season on his own – at right-back facing the Frenchman.
Former Saints loanee Takumi Minamino got his first real chance of the game just after a quarter of an hour when he turned his back on Lyanco inside the box and shot wide from a tight angle.
Adam Armstrong then tried his luck, shooting as far from 22 yards as the Saints once again struggled to produce any kind of consistent pressure.
The Saints continued to find their limited joy from long distance, Armstrong hit another long shot too close to the Monaco keeper before Che Adams saw a shot wide open.
The visitors took the lead five minutes before half-time, with Golovin swinging his foot on a loose ball to beat McCarthy at the near post after Minamino fouled in the area.
Moussa Djenepo came on for Perraud at the break and his direct run to Monaco’s defense started to slow down the Saints’ attacking tempo.
Hasenhuttl’s side started the second half with a little more purpose and were back on equal footing in the 52nd minute, Armstrong scored his and his side’s second goal of pre-season. Redmond won the ball back onto the field and passed it to Elyounoussi, who shot wide to allow Armstrong to cross the edge of the box.
The Saints continued to move forward and were rewarded for their effort with less than 15 minutes remaining. After a challenge in the box, the ball went to Joe Aribo, who beat his men and sent the ball inside for Stuart Armstrong to spin and pass Alexander Nubel.
Ward-Prowse then sealed the victory for his side as he completed a superb counter-attack by slamming his foot into the bottom corner just outside the box.
The goal was even more interesting as Monaco right-back Vanderson managed to win the penalty with a blatant dive before pushing Oriol Romeu to initiate a Saints counterattack.
An impressive second-half performance changed the face of a rather dull and dark pre-season so far, three more goals than the Saints have scored in their previous three. Game combine.
Hasenhuttl’s right to face Villareal next before Premier League The season begins on August 7, at Tottenham Hotspur.
Saints: McCarthy; Valery, Lyanco (Bella-Kotchap, 77 years old), Stephens, Perraud (Djenepo, 46 years old); Diallo, Romeu; Elyounoussi (Aribo, 65 years old), Redmond (S. Armstrong, 70 years old); Adams (Ward-Prowse, 65 years old), A. Armstrong (Walker-Peters, 65 years old)
Subs not used: Caballero, Salisu, Bednarek, Bella-Kotchap, Lavia
Monaco: Nubel, Vanderson, Maripan, Disasi, Ben Yedder, Henrique, Matazo, Golovin, Minamino, Fofana, Aguilar