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Published: 21:08 | 15/9/16

Southampton ease past Sparta Prague

Charlie Austin netted twice on his European debut, as Southampton beat Sparta Prague 3-0 in their Europa League Group K opener at St Mary's.

The former QPR striker opened the scoring from the penalty spot after five minutes after referee Manuel Grafe had, rather harshly, blown up for a handball by Costa Nhamoinesu.

Austin held his nerve, after a brief tussle for the ball with team-mate Dusan Tadic, to sweep the spot-kick past Sparta Prague goalkeeper Tomas Koubek.

The 27-year-old netted his second against last season's Europa League quarter-finalists on 27 minutes, with an inch-perfect angled header from the impressive Martina's cross.

And substitute Jay Rodriguez wrapped up the scoring in injury-time with a sharp first-time finish from Shane Long's cross from the left.

Claude Puel's side next Europa League date is a meeting with Israeli side Hapoel Be'er Sheva, 2-0 conquerors of Inter Milan at the San Siro tonight, in the Turner Stadium on 29 September.

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