Southampton opened their Europa League campaign with a 3-0 victory over Sparta Prague, and Charlie Austin said it was “a special night” after scoring a brace on his European debut.
Former QPR striker Austin opened the scoring from the penalty spot after five minutes before doubling Saints’ lead in the 27th minute, having just had another effort chalked off for offside.
And second-half substitute Jay Rodriguez added a third in added time to make sure of the points.
Austin told BT Sport 2: “It’s a special night for me.
“More importantly it was all about the win for us. Not only in this competition but to get the lads’ spirits up because we’ve not had the greatest of starts in the league but we knew if we put a performance together the win would come and luckily enough tonight, it did.”
Before converting the first-half penalty, Austin had a brief argument with Dusan Tadic about who would take the spot-kick.
Austin added: “As a centre-forward I think I should take the penalties.
“I’ve come here full of confidence, even though I’ve not scored.
“I put the ball on the spot and luckily it gave us a 1-0 (lead).
“I think it was a bit silly from me and Dusan but I’ll take the penalties in future.”