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Nigeria midfielder Aribo hard to stop - Southampton's Hasenhuttl after debut goal against Villarreal

11:11 GMT+4 31/07/2022
Southampton and Nigeria midfielder Joe Aribo.
The Super Eagle netted a sublime solo effort but it was not enough as the Saints lost to the Yellow Submarine at St Mary's

Southampton coach Ralph Hasenhuttl has praised Joe Aribo after he scored his first goal for the Premier League outfit in a 2-1 pre-season friendly defeat against Villarreal on Saturday.

The Saints found themselves trailing at St Mary’s after Yeremy Pino struck via a header to put the Yellow Submarine ahead but the Nigeria international, who joined the side from Scottish giants Rangers, announced his arrival with a wonder goal to make it 1-1.

With 18 minutes left to the final whistle, Gerard Moreno won the game for Villarreal but what caught the eye of the Saints manager is Aribo's class which saw him score his first goal in front of the fans.

Aribo took the ball in his own half and launched a solo run, racing three-quarters of the length of the pitch, which saw him leave three Villarreal players in his wake, before unleashing a shot that sneaked past former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

“When he is running with the ball he is hard to stop," Hasenhuttl told the club's official website after the game in reference to Aribo's goal, adding: "He was a little bit lucky also, but he always has these situations when the ball is under his feet and he finds good solutions."

Meanwhile, Aribo has reveled at his debut goal and remained positive to continue his scoring form into the start of the 2022-23 campaign.

“I was laughing with the boys inside. I said I didn’t even know where I pulled that chop on the right foot out from, but it was a really good feeling to score at home and hopefully, I can take that into games to come and help the boys this season," Aribo told the same portal.

“It’s really important [to have scored] and hopefully I can take that momentum into the games to come.”

Aribo has further described Villarreal as a good test for his side ahead of their Premier League opener against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

“I think it was a really good test and one that we needed,” he said, adding: “You could see out there that Villarreal are a very good team and are comfortable on the ball, and that’s what’s to come in games to come this season, so it was a really good test for us in pre-season to see where we’re at.

“In large spells of the game we were solid and communicating together. At times we weren’t really the best on the ball, but that’s all going to come.

“Pre-season is where you get the mistakes out and find yourselves. I think the boys stayed solid and were a good unit today [Saturday].”

After facing Spurs, Southampton will return home to entertain Leeds United on August 13.