Saints Still Have Hope
Steve Lomas hopes that home advantage will pay of next Thursday
St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas knows his side face an uphill task if they are to qualify for the next stage of the Europa League after losing 2-0 away to Eskisehirspor last night. However, he maintains his players have not given up hope of bouncing back in the second leg. The Saints set out their stall to defend in the Ataturk Stadium but lost a goal in each half with Alper Potuk and Veysel Sari both scoring via deflections. Lomas was happy with the commitment shown by his players and bemoaned their luck at the back. He said: "I thought we contained them and obviously two deflected goals is a cruel blow. The lads stuck to their game plan and we were never going to be able to come here and play open and attacking football because Eskisehirspor are a very good team with a lot of good players. I was disappointed for the lads, I thought they put in a manful effort and didn't get the rub of the green. It was very cruel in the 41st minute just before half-time but I thought the lads came out and did well again before another cruel deflection and you know, that's football. Sometimes you get a bit of luck but tonight we didn't." Despite what will undoubtedly prove an tough game for the Perth side in a week's time, Lomas believes that the next round is not yet out of reach. He said: "We know it is going to be very hard but it is still alive, if we get a goal who knows? I thought the lads were magnificent, one to 11 and the subs I thought. We worked on a game plan and stuck to it. But for two deflections, I didn't think they had too many efforts on goal which is credit to the lads' resistance." Lomas was also full of praise for their Turkish hosts and was impressed by their support. Te said: "Eskisehirspor were a credit to themselves and a credit to Turkey, we have been warmly received and very well looked after and they have a great set of fans" The home side's first goal came four minutes before the break when Turkey international midfielder Alper collected Diomansy Kamara's pass and saw his long-range effort get deflected before nestling in the corner of Alan Mannus' goal to give Eskisehirspor a deserved lead. Saints defender Frazer Wright, who had the misfortune to deflect Veysel's effort past Mannus just after the hour mark, admitted he had personally targeted getting to half-time with the game goalless and also reckons the tie is not over yet. Wright said: "I can remember just before the first goal looking at the clock and thinking 'get through to half-time and keep it 0-0,' then he hits a shot from 25 yards that takes a deflection off the big striker and it ends up in the corner - then you just have to get on with it. If we get the first goal (in the second leg), it is all to play for."
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