• Jay Rodriguez opened the scoring after just five minutes and then scored his second from the penalty spot
  • Saido Mane also grabbed a brace to put Southampton 3-0 up at the break and in control 
  • Shane Long also scored twice in the second half to wrap up an impressive win for Ronald Koeman’s side 

Adam Shergold for the Daily Mail

Whatever the rest of the season brings, this will be one thing Ronald Koeman will always have over his nemesis Louis van Gaal.

A year ago, Van Gaal’s Manchester United came to MK Dons in the Capital One Cup and were battered 4-0, the most humiliating moment of the Dutchman’s Old Trafford reign.

The performance of Koeman’s classy Southampton side here could not have been more contrasting to that. They ruthlessly put the Championship strugglers to the sword and in the process energised their own flagging season. 

Jay Rodriguez celebrates scoring the first goal for Southampton against MK Dons after just five minutes 

Jay Rodriguez celebrates scoring the first goal for Southampton against MK Dons after just five minutes 

Rodriguez (third left) celebrates with teammates after giving Southampton an early lead at Stadium MK

Rodriguez (third left) celebrates with teammates after giving Southampton an early lead at Stadium MK

Steven Davis and Oriol Romeu congratulate Rodriguez on his goal as Southampton took control of the tie early on

Steven Davis and Oriol Romeu congratulate Rodriguez on his goal as Southampton took control of the tie early on

MATCH FACTS 

Milton Keynes Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin 5; Hodson 5, McFadzean 4, Kay 4, Lewington (c) 5; Aguza 5 (Reeves 58, 5), Poyet 6; Benavente 4 (Hall 36, 5), Baker 5, Powell 6; Church 5 (Maynard 58, 5)

Substitutes not used: Burns (GK); Spence, Rasulo, Murphy

Southampton (4-2-3-1): Stekelenburg 6; Cedric 7, Fonte (c) 6.5, van Dijk 7 (Yoshida 77), Targett 7 (Bertrand 55, 6); Romeu 7, S. Davis 7.5; Juanmi 7.5, Rodriguez 8.5, Mane 8 (Ramirez 65, 6); Long 8

Substitutes not used: K. Davis (GK); Tadic, Wanyama, Ward-Prowse

Scorers: Rodriguez 5, 49 pen; Mane 10, 25; Long 67, 75

Referee: Keith Stroud

Attendance: 10,189

Two apiece from Jay Rodriguez, Sadio Mane and Shane Long put Saints into the last 16 – where they will play Aston Villa at home – with the bare minimum of fuss.

A satisfied Koeman said: ‘In this type of competition, this is not a normal result. It was always close, always 1-0. We did it different and that was very positive.’ 

It may only have been second-tier opposition, but such a performance can only inspire Southampton, offering a timely reminder of their goalscoring potential as they try and haul themselves up the table.

The effect on the Dons, by contrast, could be toxic. They were simply overwhelmed here and while the Capital One Cup was a distraction from the real business of Championship survival, it won’t help them too much psychologically in that regard either.

Both teams had endured disappointing starts to the campaign and the managers seized the opportunity to reshuffle their packs.

Ronald Koeman made five changes from the side that perhaps undeservedly lost to Manchester United on Sunday. In came Cedric Soares, Steven Davis, Juanmi, Jay Rodriguez and Shane Long.

Karl Robinson, whose Dons team have found acclimatising to the Championship difficult, brought in Lee Hodson, Cristian Benavente, Sergio Aguza, Daniel Powell and Simon Church from the team beaten at home by Leeds United on Saturday. New acquisition Nicky Maynard warmed the bench.

It was evident from the first whistle that Southampton were a class above. On five minutes, Rodriguez collected the ball a good 40 yards from goal and decided to just go for it.

He accelerated past Hodson and Kyle McFadzean before cutting inside Antony Kay onto his right foot, bending an exquisite curling shot inside the far post. 

It was Rodriguez’s first domestic goal since March 2014, a single moment helping to heal the scars of those 16 horrendous months of inactivity recovering from the cruciate ligament injury that destroyed his World Cup hopes with England. 

Sadio Mane scores the second goal for Southampton after just 10 minutes to strengthen their grip on the game

Sadio Mane scores the second goal for Southampton after just 10 minutes to strengthen their grip on the game

Mane is congratulated by teammates after he doubles Southampton's advantage against MK Dons

Mane is congratulated by teammates after he doubles Southampton’s advantage against MK Dons

Saints weren’t merely content with one and seemed to create chances at will, carving open a Dons defence suffering from brittle confidence.

Soares and Oriel Romeu both fired over but the respite was short lived. If the first goal was down to individual brilliance, the second came gift-wrapped.

Kay’s awful clearance found its way to Mane, about 25 yards out, and the Senegal star eased past the last defender before delicately dinking the ball over keeper David Martin.

A third was somewhat inevitable and it came on 25 minutes in a fine back-to-front move. Matt Targett rolled the ball along the line to Davis, who turned and lofted a ball over the top to locate Long. 

Mane scores his second and Southampton's third goal as they looked to ease their way into the fourth round of the Capital One Cup

Mane scores his second and Southampton’s third goal as they looked to ease their way into the fourth round of the Capital One Cup

Mane celebrates Romeu after he scored his second goal of the night in what turned out to be an easy night for Southampton

Mane celebrates Romeu after he scored his second goal of the night in what turned out to be an easy night for Southampton

He glanced up, squared to Mane, who cut back inside Kay and fired decisively past Martin. It was just far too simple.

The misery could have been deeper for the Dons, who had prided themselves on embarrassing Premier League opponents in recent times. Blackpool were beaten 4-3 here in 2010, Norwich crushed 4-0 in 2011 and then that unforgettable night against Van Gaal’s United, the club’s finest hour.

Rodriguez was brimming with confidence and a 25-yarder just beat the post, while Martin tipped over the bar from Juanmi, who was making his first start for the club. 

Rodriguez scores his second of the night from the penalty spot as Southampton progressed through to Round Four

Rodriguez scores his second of the night from the penalty spot as Southampton progressed through to Round Four

MK Dons' Sergio Aguza and teammates look dejected after Southampton run riot at Stadium MK

MK Dons’ Sergio Aguza and teammates look dejected after Southampton run riot at Stadium MK

And the punishment continued almost immediately after the interval when Kyle McFadzean fouled Long inside the box. Rodriguez, brimming with confidence, slammed home the penalty to make it four and extinguish any remaining hope for the hosts.

Yet still Koeman’s team were not satisfied. Virgil van Dijk demonstrated his talents extend far beyond just defending when he curled a free-kick against the crossbar.

Shane Long got himself on the scoresheet with a good strike in the second half 

Shane Long got himself on the scoresheet with a good strike in the second half 

Long then added his second of the night late in the game as Southampton eased to victory

Long then added his second of the night late in the game as Southampton eased to victory

Long deserved a goal for his efforts and it duly arrived when Juanmi crossed and McFadzean’s clearance under pressure hit him and bounced in.

The Dons defence had given up by the time of Long’s second goal, with Davis permitted to slide a through ball that the forward converted with aplomb.

Suddenly it was a three-way race to complete hat-tricks and Rodriguez had the ball in the net, only to be denied by an offside flag.

But any more really would have been cruel in this marvellous Saints six of the best.

Koeman added: ‘At half-time the message to the players was continue playing like we did in the first-half, keep the concentration and try to score more goals and keep the clean sheet. I was very pleased with our performance today.’

Dons boss Karl Robinson accepted his side were outclassed: ‘That was a £98m team to our £200,000. I don’t think Houdini could have got a result tonight.’

FULL CAPITAL ONE CUP FOURTH ROUND DRAW

Manchester City v Crystal Palace

Liverpool v Bournemouth

Manchester United v Middlesbrough

Everton v Norwich

Southampton v Aston Villa

Sheffield Wednesday v Arsenal

Hull v Leicester

Stoke v Chelsea

*Ties to be played on the week commencing October 26 

 

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