SAINTS Under-23’s boss Radhi Jaidi said going down to ten-men ‘killed’ his side’s chances of reaching the International Cup final.

Harry Hamblin, who scored the goal to bring the youngsters level in the match, was given a straight red card for a challenge on Marko Gjira in the first half.

Jaidi said: “It killed us. We were about to dominate and probably go on to win it even before the end of the half.

“They [Dinamo Zagreb] are not a Villarreal. They are a team with one or two quality players, but we started to manage that.”

And Jaidi refused to be drawn on the referee’s performance but added that it’s not a good sign when the official has to be discussed after a defeat.

“It’s disappointing, not just because of the result or the decision,” the former Saints defender continued.

“At this level when you are speaking about the development, you want to do the right things – even from the referee’s perspective.

“It’s a question mark. This can ruin players’ careers and futures within a club.”

Saints suffered another setback in their 3-1 loss.

Nathan Tella was forced off the pitch in the first half, having landed awkwardly from an aerial challenge with Bartol Franic.

The youngster’s agony could be heard by those inside St Mary’s before he limped down the tunnel.

Jaidi said: “I hope it’s not dangerous. Nathan will go through tests and hopefully the results are positive.

“He's a big member of our squad and we need him for the next two games. The most important thing is that he gets fit as soon as possible.”

Despite last night’s defeat, the U23s still have the opportunity to end their season on a high and win the Premier League 2 title – if they win their final two matches.

“It’s an opportunity for us see how the boys can deal with these tests that push them and close the gap between them and the senior team,” added Jaidi.