Belfast Telegraph

Jay Rodriguez makes up for lost time to rescue Southampton in Europa League play-off

Southampton 1-1 Midtjylland

Jay Rodriguez scored his first goal in almost 17 months as Southampton were held to a draw by FC Midtjylland in their Europa League play-off tie.

The England international had been out with a serious knee injury for much of that time and the relief was there for all to see as he emphatically thumped home an equaliser from the penalty spot to secure a 1-1 draw.

All the pre-game talk at St Mary's had been about players staying at the club as, with Manchester United linked with another high-profile poach of Southampton talent with a move for Sadio Mane, manager Ronald Koeman insisted he was not for sale, but ironically it was a returning Saints player who opened the scoring as Tim Sparv put Midtjylland ahead just before half-time, giving his side the advantage ahead of the return leg in Herning next week.

Saints hit back with an early second-half penalty, with Rodriguez slotting home his first goal since a brace in a 4-0 win over Newcastle in March 2014 to leave the tie finely poised.

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