Swansea City’s pre-season ended in defeat as they were outclassed by Southampton who claimed a 3-1 victory at the Liberty Stadium.
The Swans competed well early on and went ahead through an own goal from Mohamed Salisu.
But the Saints flexed their muscles and levelled through Nathan Tella within a minute of going behind before Nathan Redmond put them ahead soon after.
Stuart Armstrong added a third for the away side as the Swans’ 100% winning summer record was ended ahead of their Championship opener at Blackburn Rovers next weekend.
Fulham transfer target Matt Grimes – who is nursing a minor injury – was once again absent while Lewis Webb, Jay Fulton, Ryan Manning and Ben Margetson remained sidelined after recently returning positive Covid-19 tests.
Steven Benda – who is expected to start in goal at Blackburn – tipped Oriol Romeu’s header over the bar early on in what was a relatively even start in south Wales.
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But the Swans went ahead in somewhat comedic fashion after a well-timed tackle from summer signing Liam Walsh got the hosts on the attack, and Liam Cullen’s teasing cross was turned into his own net by Salisu.
It served as a special moment for the Jack Army who fully enjoyed their opportunity to witness the ball bulge the net live in person once again.
However, Swansea’s lead was short lived as Che Adams played Tella through on goal, and he coolly slotted through the legs of Benda to level proceedings.
It was clear that Swansea’s opener had served as something of a wake-up call for the Saints.
And Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men were ahead just eight minutes after falling behind as they expertly evaded a Swansea press before seeing Redmond fire beyond Benda.
It was a gentle and perhaps timely reminder of the ruthless nature of Premier League sides.
Things went from bad to worse for the home side as Walsh had to be replaced shortly after the half hour mark due to injury, with academy product Dan Williams coming on in his place.
Korey Smith was able to briefly lift spirits with two wonderful pieces of skill to evade trouble before Adams was well off target with a low drilled effort from a narrow angle.
Attentions turned away from the action at half time as club legend Nathan Dyer – who announced his retirement from football this week – addressed the Swansea faithful before receiving a rapturous round of applause from supporters.
But normal service was resumed after the restart, with Adams and Armstrong both seeing efforts fizzle just wide from the edge of the Swansea box.
Alan Tate’s men were gifted the opportunity to equalise 10 minutes into the second half as Williams’ endeavour saw him rob Alex McCarthy of the ball, but his lay-off to Cullen was unforgiving, and the striker’s tame effort was subsequently blocked.
Southampton fully punished their hosts as Armstrong converted from a pull-back before the visitors made a raft of changes while Joel Piroe replaced Morgan Whittaker.
They continued to boast control of the contest, although a slick attack involving Cullen and Piroe allowed Jake Bidwell to test McCarthy who was equal to the left-back’s driven shot.
Substitute Danny Ings was then denied by Benda as the Saints went in search of more goals.
Kyle Joseph, Ben Lloyd, Lincoln McFayden and Scott Butler were given some minutes late on as they got a brief taste of the Liberty atmosphere for the first time.
But Southampton left with a deserved win as Swansea’s sole focus switches back to finalising the details that will see Russell Martin become their new boss ahead of Saturday’s trip to Ewood Park.
Swansea City: Benda; Naughton, Cabango, Bennett (C) (Butler 90), Bidwell (McFayden 90); Walsh (Williams 32), Smith (O Cooper 75), Dhanda (Lloyd 84); Lowe, Cullen (Joseph 84), Whittaker (Piroe 60).
Subs not used: Hamer.
Goal: Salisu OG 15
Referee: Bryn Markham Jones