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TURKEY > Eskişehir hopes to protect advantage

PERTH, Scotland

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Eskişehirspor has fared well in its first European game in almost four decades when it beat St. Johnstone 2-0 in the second qualifying round of the Europa League. DHA Photo

Eskişehirspor has fared well in its first European game in almost four decades when it beat St. Johnstone 2-0 in the second qualifying round of the Europa League. DHA Photo

Eskişehirspor has fared well in its first European game in almost four decades when it beat St. Johnstone 2-0 in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

Eskişehirspor will try to protect its two-goal advantage tonight when it visits Scottish side St. Johnstone in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

The Red-Blacks visit the Scots a week after winning the first leg 2-0.

Goals by Alper Potuk and Veysel Sarı gave Eskişehirspor a comfortable lead over the Scots.

The game was Eskişehirspor’s first game in European competitions since the 1975-1976 campaign.

If ‘Es-Es’ goes through, it will meet Marseille in the third qualifying round of the second-tier continental competition. The winner of the third-round tie will enter a playoff round.

Eskişehirspor, who finished the Spor Toto Super League in sixth spot last season, replaced Beşiktaş in the Europa League after the latter was kicked out of the competition due to financial irregularities.

Eskişehirspor is not free from its problems, however, since the team will play without its problem-child Batuhan Karadeniz.

The Turkish media reported that the 21-year-old was recently involved in a heated exchange of words with coach Ersun Yanal and was hit with an exclusion from the squad. The club confirmed that Karadeniz, who has scored 25 goals in 77 appearances for Eskişehirspor, will not be in the squad flying to Scotland.

The game at the McDiarmid Park in Perth starts at 9:45 p.m.

July/26/2012

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