Champions League qualifier: New Saints 'beaten by the better team'

Scott Ruscoe
Scott Ruscoe succeeded Craig Harrison as New Saints manager in July 2017

New Saints manager Scott Ruscoe acknowledged his side contributed to their own downfall in losing 5-0 to Shkendija in the Champions League first qualifying round first leg.

The Welsh champions face an almost impossible task in the second leg of their tie after a night to forget in Macedonia.

Besart Ibraimi scored four goals as Shkendija outclassed Saints

"I would say how good they were, but I thought we weren't great," Ruscoe said.

"We haven't been quite good enough on the night and we were beaten by the better team."

Goals from Ibraimi and Izair Emini had given the hosts a 2-0 interval lead at the Philip II Arena in Skopje.

"In the first half you could see the intensity, how sharp they were and how well they passed the ball," Ruscoe added.

"But they haven't done anything that we haven't seen them do before.

"All I asked at the start of the game was to match them for effort and intensity, everything that we do normally

"We gifted them the two goals. We gave the ball way, they've broken us and they've scored."

Three further goals from the impressive Ibraimi sealed Saints' fate in the second half and Ruscoe's side face a mountain to climb in the second leg at Park Hall on Tuesday, 17 July.

The winner of the tie face Torpedo Kutaisi from Georgia or FC Sheriff of Moldova in the second qualifying round.

The losers will drop into the Europa League and will face Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar.

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