St Johnstone face an uphill struggle to reach the Europa League third qualifying round after a first-leg defeat by Eskisehirspor in Turkey.

The home side took the lead through a deflected Alper Potuk drive shortly before half-time.

A second deflected goal from Veysel Sari put the home side firmly in the driving seat.

However, a positive second-half display from the Saints will give them some hope for the return leg on 26 July.

The Perth side, minus the injured duo of captain Dave Mackay and new striker Gregory Tade, struggled with unusually high temperatures in Anatolia.

After only a minute the Turks carved out a chance when a cross from the right was volleyed just wide of the post by Patrick Malecki.

However, despite that early scare, and Eskisehirspor dominating possession, Saints limited the home side to shots from distance throughout the early period of the match.

The Eskisehirspor players claimed for a penalty as the ball appeared to strike the arm of Fraser Wright, but the referee was unmoved.

Malecki was active on the left wing for the hosts and Saints were fortunate former Celtic player Diomansy Kamara could not connect properly with a fizzing far-post cross from the Pole.

Saints manager Steve Lomas had clearly opted for a conservative formation, with only Sean Higgins up front, and a weak Jamie Adams header was the sum total of the visitors' attacking intent in the first half.

The thin blue line of the St Johnstone defence was breached five minutes before the break when Alper's shot was deflected past the stretching Alan Mannus into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

Saints opened the second half with more attacking intent, and Liam Craig tested goalkeeper Ruud Boffin with a long-range free-kick, but it was a comfortable save for the Belgian.

Goalscorer Alper then spurned a great chance with Saints temporarily down to 10 men after Wright took a knock in the visiting box.

The forward raced past the challenge of two Saints defenders but Mannus blocked his low shot from close range.

Shortly after, however, Veysel raced in from the right wing, and his low effort from a tight angle was deflected past Mannus by the unfortunate Wright.

The visiting defence lost some cohesion after the loss of the second goal and Mannus had to look smart to save another close range effort from former Dortmund defender Dede.

Lomas changed his system as the game reached its closing stages and the visitors searched for a way into the tie.

New signing Nigel Hasselbaink replaced the largely ineffective striker Higgins and fellow forward Steven May came on for midfielder Jamie Adams.

And stand-in captain Murray Davidson almost handed Saints a last-minute lifeline when he dribbled into the home six-yard box, but his ball across the face of goal was taken off the toe of May by a defender.

The second-half display will have given Saints fans encouragement, but the two-goal deficit could prove challenging to overturn.

Match Stats

Shots

12 2

On target

5 1

Corners

5 5

Fouls

13 5

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:07 Full time

Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.

90:00 +2:06

Corner taken by Liam Craig, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Nigel Hasselbaink misses to the left of the goal.

90:00 +1:36

Unfair challenge on Murray Davidson by Hurriyet Gucer results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Liam Craig.

90:00 +1:20

The official flags Veysel Sari offside. Free kick taken by Alan Mannus.

89:15

Inswinging corner taken by Liam Craig from the right by-line, Servet Cetin manages to make a clearance.

88:57

Murray Davidson crosses the ball, clearance by Alper Potuk.

87:16

Free kick awarded for a foul by Alper Potuk on Murray Davidson. Murray Davidson restarts play with the free kick.

85:13

Unfair challenge on Murray Davidson by Hurriyet Gucer results in a free kick. Murray Davidson restarts play with the free kick.

84:00 Substitution

Substitution Patrick Cregg goes off and Kevin Moon comes on.

84:00 Substitution

Substitution (Eskisehirspor) makes a substitution, with Atdhe Nuhiu coming on for Erkan Zengin.

83:03

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Callum Davidson by Veysel Sari. Callum Davidson takes the direct free kick.

82:41

Liam Craig takes a short corner.

82:06

The assistant referee flags for offside against Diomansy Kamara. Free kick taken by Patrick Cregg.

77:10 Substitution

Substitution Patryk Malecki leaves the field to be replaced by Burhan Eser.

77:10 Substitution

Substitution Jamie Adams goes off and Steve May comes on.

75:02

Nigel Hasselbaink challenges Leonardo Dede unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ruud Boffin takes the direct free kick.

71:09

The offside flag is raised against Veysel Sari. Alan Mannus takes the indirect free kick.

70:14

Leonardo Dede takes a shot. Alan Mannus makes a save.

68:37 Substitution

Substitution Sean Higgins goes off and Nigel Hasselbaink comes on.

68:37 Substitution

Substitution Rodrigo Tello joins the action as a substitute, replacing Batuhan Karadeniz.

67:20

Leonardo Dede decides to take a short corner.

63:48 Goal scored

Goal! - Veysel Sari - Eskis'spor 2 - 0 St J'stone Veysel Sari fires in a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Eskisehirspor 2-0 St Johnstone.

60:56

Leonardo Dede decides to take the corner short.

60:32

Alper Potuk takes a shot. Save made by Alan Mannus.

59:43

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Liam Craig from the left by-line.

57:13

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Sean Higgins by Diego Angelo. Liam Craig fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick, save by Ruud Boffin.

53:49

Diomansy Kamara is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Frazer Wright.

51:52

A cross is delivered by Patryk Malecki, save by Alan Mannus.

51:42

The ball is swung over by Patryk Malecki, clearance by Frazer Wright.

48:12

Hurriyet Gucer gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Chris Millar. Liam Craig crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing.

47:40

Inswinging corner taken by Liam Craig from the left by-line, Servet Cetin makes a clearance.

47:07

Free kick awarded for a foul by Veysel Sari on Liam Craig. Free kick taken by Liam Craig.

46:13

Servet Cetin concedes a free kick for a foul on Liam Craig. Free kick crossed left-footed by Liam Craig from left wing.

45:01

The second half begins.

45:00 +0:55 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.

43:05

Diomansy Kamara concedes a free kick for a foul on Patrick Cregg. Direct free kick taken by Patrick Cregg.

40:30

Assist on the goal came from Diomansy Kamara.

40:30 Goal scored

Goal! - Alper Potuk - Eskis'spor 1 - 0 St J'stone Alper Potuk fires in a goal from outside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Eskisehirspor 1-0 St Johnstone.

38:22

Effort from just outside the box by Servet Cetin goes over the bar.

34:38

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Leonardo Dede, Batuhan Karadeniz produces a headed effort from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

33:27

Free kick awarded for a foul by Patryk Malecki on Callum Davidson. Alan Mannus takes the direct free kick.

32:28

Unfair challenge on Murray Davidson by Alper Potuk results in a free kick. Patrick Cregg takes the direct free kick.

30:33

Unfair challenge on Servet Cetin by Sean Higgins results in a free kick. Servet Cetin restarts play with the free kick.

24:43

The ball is swung over by Patryk Malecki, Diomansy Kamara produces a header from inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.

21:55

Unfair challenge on Servet Cetin by Sean Higgins results in a free kick. Servet Cetin restarts play with the free kick.

21:06

Foul by Hurriyet Gucer on Patrick Cregg, free kick awarded. Patrick Cregg restarts play with the free kick.

17:52

Murray Davidson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Diomansy Kamara. Direct free kick taken by Diomansy Kamara.

17:31

Hurriyet Gucer fouled by Jamie Adams, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Alper Potuk.

15:54

Corner taken by Leonardo Dede, Veysel Sari takes a shot. Blocked by Frazer Wright.

14:33

Shot from just outside the box by Diomansy Kamara goes over the bar.

12:27

Liam Craig is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Leonardo Dede crosses the ball, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Veysel Sari goes harmlessly over the crossbar.

12:19

A cross is delivered by Leonardo Dede.

11:27

Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Leonardo Dede, David McCracken manages to make a clearance.

9:35

Shot from just outside the box by Hurriyet Gucer goes over the target.

7:42

Sean Higgins is caught offside. Alper Potuk takes the indirect free kick.

5:37

The ball is sent over by Liam Craig.

3:56

Diomansy Kamara gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Sean Higgins. Chris Millar takes the free kick.

1:27

Centre by Veysel Sari, Effort from deep inside the area by Patryk Malecki misses to the left of the goal.

0:00

The match gets underway.

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