Lomas takes positives after Euro bid turns on one key moment
ST JOHNSTONE manager Steve Lomas last night lamented the “small margins” which often prove so significant in football after his side failed in their mission to overturn a first leg Europa League deficit against Eskisehirspor.
Their cash-rich opponents certainly had cause to be worried last night, after Gregory Tade had given St Johnstone a 1-0 half-time lead. Summer signing Nigel Hasselbaink then watched Eskisehirspor goalkeeper Ruud Jorge Boffin pull off a fine block from his shot as St Johnstone sought to put the Turks, who were defending a 2-0 lead from the first game, under even greater pressure.
The home team suffered for not being able to take this chance when Veysel Sari drifted in at the back post to equalise after 51 minutes and the game ended 1-1, with Eskisehirspor emerging triumphant 3-1 on aggregate.
“Once they got the away goal, the tie was done,” admitted Lomas. But he was heartened by what he had seen, and drew many positives from the challenge of playing two tough competitive matches prior to next weekend’s SPL kick-off. He felt his side had looked fitter over the two legs and had also created the better chances.
“We thought it had been a bit easier, but having watched it on dvd he was under pressure to be fair,” said Lomas, with reference to Hasselbaink’s opportunity early in the second half.
“That was the key moment of the game. They [Eskisehirspor] looked nervous. They are a team with a reputed 30 million euro budget, and they were looking nervous on the bench when Nigel had that chance.
“But it comes back to small margins,” he added. “You have to take your chances.”
Rather than look forward to a third qualifying round tie with Marseille, Lomas will now continue with preparations for the new league season.
Derek McInnes, his predecessor at St Johnstone, brings Bristol City to McDiarmid Park tomorrow for a friendly.
“We are still four or five short of really competing in the SPL, and getting to where we were last season,” Lomas said. “Having had this taste of Europe, it will be good to get back there next season.”
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Friday 24 May 2013
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