- Wednesday July 19th, 2023 @ 15:50
Preview: St Pat's Vs F91 (20/07/23)
The Saints return to Inchicore on Thursday evening in the hope of overturning the one goal deficit they have found themselves with after last week's game against F91 Dudelange.
The first-leg took place last Wednesday in Luxembourg and finished in a 2-1 to the home side, but substitute Mark Doyle struck at the death with a crucial goal, to give St Pat's something to bring back to Dublin and ensure it's all to play for!
Kick-off is at 7.45pm, with another sell out crowd expected to be in full voice for another big European night in Richmond Park.
For those St Pat's fans who didn't manage to get hold of one of the 2,500 tickets, the game will be streamed live on the Official St Pat's App for free, download now from the App Store or Google Play.
The game will also be available on LOITV for €10 (European games are not included in the LOITV season pass and must be purchased individually).
Dudelange got the opener last week as Oege-Sietse Van Lingen found the bottom corner from inside the box in the 24th minute.
Despite goalkeeper Dean Lyness producing a string of fine saves either side of half-time, Dudelange doubled their lead just after the hour mark as Yahcuroo Roemer struck low and hard to put the Luxembourgish side two goals up.
The 400+ travelling Saints fans then went wild in celebration after Mark Doyle coolly finished in the 93rd minute, with just seconds left on the clock.
Dudelange centre-back Vincent Decker failed to clear the ball after a Tommy Lonergan shot and Mark Doyle sniffed out the opportunity and snatched the ball from Decker in his own box before placing the ball to the right side of the onrushing keeper.
Doyle's finish provides the Saints with a huge sense of optimism going into Thursday's tie with it all to play for in Dublin 8.
The Saints boast the best home record in the Premier Division this season and have scored 47 league goals which is joint top in the league also, a sign of how strong the team is at home this season - which, for Saints fans, is positive reading heading into the home leg of this tie with their side needing a goal.
F91 Dudelange are a team based in the south of Luxembourg. They are 16-time Luxembourgish league champions. The club was founded in 1991 after three smaller clubs in the Dudelange region merged.
Dudelange are currently in pre-season, with their domestic league not beginning until next month. They finished third in the league in 2022-23 to qualify for Europe.
The club has previously qualified for the Europa League group stage in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.
DALY: "We're excited and ready to go!"
Manager Jon Daly has won eight of his first 13 games as Saints manager, and took charge of his first European game on Wednesday.
Daly knows the challenge that lies ahead of his team and stated the importance of the fans support as he relishes the opportunity to test his team against a tough European outfit once more:
"We're excited, we're looking forward to it. We know it's going to be a difficult game but we're confident going into it. The fans have been fantastic this year at home and our home record is good so we're looking to continue that on Thursday.
Last year the fans were fantastic here in the Mura game. They made a great atmosphere and we're looking for the same again on Thursday and I have no doubt that they will. They'll get right behind the players to try and drive us forward for that win that we're looking for.
We'll put the previous performance to bed and make sure we're focused now. We know what Dudelange are like now and what they're about. They have some very good players that we need to be mindful of and we need to defend certain situations better but we're very confident we can score goals and that we can try our best to get through."
FORRESTER: "It's a big game for us"
Saints midfielder and club legend Chris Forrester has been one of the key players in the success of his team so far this year.
With 11 goals in 25 appearances, he is the joint top scorer in the Premier Division so far this season.
After last week's trip to Luxembourg, he is also now the Saints joint third-highest appearance maker in European competitions, equalling Ger O'Brien's 16 European appearances for the club.
Forrester discussed last week's game and how he believes the fans will be at the heart of any comeback that may happen on Thursday:
"We were a bit disappointed with the game (last week). We didn't give a good account of ourselves. Mark came up with a good goal and the tie is still there for us at the end of the day. We're fully focused on getting a positive result this week and training has been good, so overall, it wasn't great, but we came out of it with a goal deficit, which isn't the worst.
It'll be a big game for us, a big occasion. The fans will play a massive part. Mark's goal has kept us in the tie, two goals down would make it difficult but we're only one goal behind now. We know what they (Dudelange) are like now and we're fully focused on getting a good result.
It will be a big atmosphere. The fans will be up for it so I'm looking forward to it. It's such a great occasion playing in European games. You want to be in Europe and once you're in it, you want to do well. I'm extremely proud to have so many games in Europe and to captain the team in the absence of Joe (Redmond). Last year we went on a good run in Europe, and we want to emulate that again this year."
Captain Joe Redmond (hamstring) has returned to training but will not be ready in time for tomorrow's game, Tom Grivosti (knee ACL) and Axel Sjoberg (hamstring) will all miss the match. New signing Kian Leavy is a couple of weeks away from fitness.
Updates: You can catch updates across all our social media channels on Wednesday evening and watch the game live on the St Pat's FC App & LOITV
Image Credit: Inpho Sports