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Southampton stroll through to ease pain for boss Koeman


Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman

Getty Images

Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman's return to Vitesse Arnhem was a painful one, but at least the Southampton manager can take some comfort in his side's safe passage to the Europa League play-offs.

Few expected Saints to come a cropper in Holland after winning the first leg 3-0, yet the Dutchman named a strong side such was his desire to overcome the club where he began his managerial career.

Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane struck to secure a 2-0 triumph, giving Koeman something to smile about after rupturing his Achilles on the eve of the third qualifying round tie - he will have surgery today.

West Ham crashed out though to Astra Giurgiu after manager Slaven Bilic left a host of first-team players at home - despite the tie hanging in the balance following a 2-2 draw at Upton Park a week ago.

Astra captain Constantin Budescu scored twice in four first-half minutes to cancel out Manuel Lanzini's early opener and seal a memorable 2-1 win.

Aberdeen's European run was ended by Kazakh side Kairat Almaty. Gerard Gohou opened the scoring after 59 minutes and Kenny McLean levelled on the night, but the Dons could not muster the second goal to take the tie into extra-time.

Belfast Telegraph