LASK 1-1 Saints
19th August 2021
Saints put in another fine away performance in Europe this evening as they drew 1-1 with LASK in their UEFA Europa Conference League play-off first leg match.
Chris Kane gave Saints the lead on 17 minutes as he got on the end of a Glenn Middleton cross. However, LASK levelled the tie in the second half when Mamoudou Karamoko converted a penalty after Thomas Goiginger had been fouled by Jamie McCart.
The return leg takes place at McDiarmid Park next Thursday evening, with the winner progressing to the groups stages of the UEFA Europa Conference League. However, before that Saints welcome Dundee United to Perth this Sunday for a cinch Premiership match, kick off 3pm.
Saints were in Austria this evening as they took on LASK in the first leg of the UEFA Europa Conference League against the Austrian Bundesliga side. After a penalty shootout win at Arbroath on Sunday to progress to the quarter-finals of the Premier Sports Cup Callum Davidson made six changes to his starting eleven for this evenings game. Zander Clark, Liam Gordon, Callum Booth, Murray Davidson, Michael O’Halloran and Chris Kane came into replace Elliott Parish, James Brown, Reece Devine, Liam Craig, Stevie May and Callum Hendry who all dropped to the bench. LASK lost 3-1 to Sturm Graz on Sunday and Dominik Thalhammer made two changes to his starting eleven as Yannis Letard and Philipp Wiesinger dropped out and they were replaced by Jan Boller and Andrés Andrade.
With work being carried out at the Raiffeisen Arena in Linz, this evening’s match was being played at the Wörthersee Stadion in Klagenfurt. Murray Davidson who got the match underway for Saints but it was the hosts who almost took the lead after 30 seconds. A quick Peter Michorl free kick played in Husein Balić but Jamie McCart got back and made a good block to turned the ball behind. From the resultant corner the ball broke to Jan Boller but Zander Clark made a great reaction save to deny the German defender.
After that early scare Saints settled into the game and they took the lead on 17 minutes. Michael O’Halloran brilliantly gathered McCart’s long ball forward under pressure before cutting it back to Glenn Middleton who sent over a great low cross into the box picking out Chris Kane who slid in to slot the ball into the far corner.
Saints almost doubled their advantage 2 minutes later as Middleton’s cutback broke to Ali McCann but LASK keeper Alexander Schlager made a good save to deny the Northern Ireland internationalist. Saints continued to impose themselves on the game and they were awarded a free kick on 26 minutes following a foul on Kane however, Middleton’s free kick was saved by Schlager.
As the match progressed towards half time LASK created a couple of opportunities to get back into the match. On 42 minutes Clark pulled off a good save tipping over an effort from distance from Boller. Then 2 minutes later the Saints number one got down well to his left to save a Florian Flecker strike.
LASK made a change before the second half got underway as Alexander Schmidt came on to replace Husein Balić.
Saints started the second half quickly and 20 seconds into the half Middleton, who was causing the hosts a lot of problems down the left, broke into the box before seeing his effort saved. Then a couple of minutes later McCann picked out Callum Booth with a pass across the edge of the box however, he could direct his left footed effort on target.
A Middleton free kick on 54 minutes picked out Murray Davidson who got up well to make a good connection with the delivery into the box however, the midfielder’s header was well held by Schlager.
Saints were flying and 2 minutes later O’Halloran went on a driving run deep into the LASK half, evading a couple of challenges, before picking out Middleton however, he took one touch too many as Schlager gathered the ball.
However, LASK were then handed a way back into the match as they were awarded a penalty following a foul on Thomas Goiginger by McCart. Mamoudou Karamoko stepped up to take the penalty and the French forward drilled a low strike past Clark and into the bottom left corner to level the match for the hosts.
That goal gave LASK some momentum and with 12 minutes remaining a cross into the Saints box was latched onto by substitute Marvin Potzmann by Booth made a crucial block to turn the ball behind for a corner.
Both sides went for it in the closing stages and on 84 minutes Middleton saw his free kick cleared by the LASK defence. Then shortly after Shaun Rooney sent a long throw into the LASK box and the ball broke to Middleton but his strike was blocked by the LASK rearguard.
Play then quickly switched to the other end as Schmidt blasted over. As the match then progressed into the final minute LASK almost won it as a ball into the Saints box was flicked towards goal by Keito Nakamura and his header came back off the inside of Clark’s right-hand post before being cleared by McCart.
LASK continued to push for the winner in the 5 minutes of stoppage time and the hosts were awarded a free kick in a promising position after Petar Filipović was fouled by Saints substitute Stevie May. Boller took the free kick but Clark made a fine save as he tipped over the 20-yard effort from the defender to setup a massive game at McDiarmid Park next Thursday evening.
LASK: Schlager, Boller, Andrade, Filipović, Flecker (Potzmann 69), Grgic (Nakamura 84), Michorl (Hong 69), Renner, Balić (Schmidt 45), Karamoko (Raguž 69), Goiginger
Unused Substitutes: Gebauer (GK), Wild, Radulovic, Polster, Marešić
Booked: Goiginger, Grgic
Scorer: Karamoko (59 pen)
Saints: Clark, Kerr, Gordon, McCart, Rooney, McCann, Davidson, Middleton, Booth, O’Halloran (Hendry 90+2), Kane (May 87)
Unused Substitutes: Parish (GK), Sinclair (GK), Brown, Devine, Gilmour, Muller, Ballantyne, Northcott, Craig, Denham
Scorer: Kane (17)
Referee: Glenn Nyberg
Match Report by Daryl Scott