Europa Conference League - Qualifying Play-offs - 1st Leg
LASKLASK1St JohnstoneSt Johnstone1

LASK 1-1 St Johnstone: Scots set up 'another cup final' with impressive Europa Conference draw

By Ben BanksBBC Scotland
Glenn Middleton (left) in action in Austria
Glenn Middleton (left) provided a sumptuous cross for St Johnstone's goal

St Johnstone "have another cup final" onThursday after a Europa Conference League play-off first-leg draw with LASK, says manager Callum Davidson.

Chris Kane's goal was cancelled out by Mamadou Karamoko's second-half penalty in Austria on another impressive night for the Perth club.

Last season's domestic cup double winners can clinch their first group stage appearance at McDiarmid Park.

"It's excellent," Davidson said. "It's a great result."

He added: "Some of the results LASK have had in the last couple of years have been tremendous. LASK are a good European team. All credit to the players."

LASK featured in the Europa League group stage last season and reached the last 16 in 2020, making St Johnstone clear underdogs, but Davidson's side had already shown disregard for European reputations when wrestling with Turkish side Galatasaray in this season's Europa League qualifier.

Goalkeeper Zander Clark was called upon early to deny a Jan Boller effort, but that was all LASK created in the first half. The centre-back had another attempt from range saved later, yet St Johnstone were comfortable.

They had to make the most of every break of the ball - and that is just what they did when winger Glenn Middleton's cross from the left beat the Austrian defence to tee up Kane and the striker slid the ball home.

Middleton was causing plenty of problems and his next pass, this time to Ali McCann, should have resulted in another goal. The Northern Ireland midfielder struck his shot powerfully from outside the area, but LASK goalkeeper Alexander Schlager did well to deny him.

A rare error at the back by St Johnstone gifted LASK a chance to level. Callum Booth had come within inches of doubling the Scots' lead at the start of the second half, but fellow defender Jamie McCart then brought down Karamoko and the striker made no mistake from the penalty spot.

LASK bought momentum with their goal as they looked to assert themselves in St Johnstone's half. Winger Keito Nakamura's effort in the dying embers provided a big scare, hitting the post and deflecting across the face of goal before McCart slid in to clear.

Boller then tried his hand at beating Clark for a third time, but his free-kick was batted away.

The furthest St Johnstone have progressed in Europe is the third round of the Uefa Cup in the 1971-72 season. They are in a good position to make history again.

Man of the Match - Zander Clark

Zander Clark
The goalkeeper made an array of eye-catching saves, particularly late in the game, to help keep St Johnstone in the tie

What did we learn?

St Johnstone are more than a match for LASK. While the Austrian hosts did prove their quality in spells, Davidson's side matched them in larger periods.

Middleton caused a host of problems, with the on-loan Rangers winger's pace a trait with which LASK struggled.

A similar performance next week could secure St Johnstone an unprecedented European group-stage spot.

What did they say?

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: "I thought the boys performed unbelievably well. I am a bit disappointed with the chance we miss before their goal.

"But we had a go and went toe-to-toe with LASK. It's a great result and a learning curve. We give ourselves a chance."

What's next?

A demanding schedule continues for St Johnstone as they host Dundee United in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday (15:00 BST).

Line-ups

LASK

Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Schlager
  • 34Boller
  • 30Andrade
  • 5Filipovic
  • 29FleckerSubstituted forPotzmannat 69'minutes
  • 31GrgicBooked at 82minsSubstituted forNakamuraat 84'minutes
  • 8MichorlSubstituted forHongat 69'minutes
  • 7Renner
  • 14BalicSubstituted forSchmidtat 45'minutes
  • 9KaramokoSubstituted forRaguzat 69'minutes
  • 27GoigingerBooked at 30mins

Substitutes

  • 10Raguz
  • 19Potzmann
  • 21Hong
  • 23Schmidt
  • 32Wild
  • 35Radulovic
  • 36Gebauer
  • 38Nakamura
  • 39Polster
  • 44Maresic

St Johnstone

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Clark
  • 5Kerr
  • 6GordonBooked at 50mins
  • 4McCart
  • 19Rooney
  • 18McCann
  • 8Davidson
  • 14Middleton
  • 24Booth
  • 11O'HalloranSubstituted forHendryat 90+2'minutes
  • 9KaneSubstituted forMayat 87'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Brown
  • 3Devine
  • 7May
  • 12Parish
  • 15Gilmour
  • 16Muller
  • 20Sinclair
  • 22Hendry
  • 23Ballantyne
  • 25Northcott
  • 26Craig
  • 29Denham
Referee:
Glenn Nyberg
Attendance:
550

Match Stats

Home TeamLASKAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home64%
Away36%
Shots
Home17
Away8
Shots on Target
Home5
Away5
Corners
Home7
Away3
Fouls
Home13
Away11

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 19th August 2021

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