herald

Monday 11 December 2017

'Irish have heart but not enough quality' says Legia's Astiz

Mark Quigley, St Patrick's Athletic, in action against Timasz Jodlowiec, Lukasz Broz and Inaki Astiz, Legia Warszawa. Picture: David Maher/SPORTSFILE
Mark Quigley, St Patrick's Athletic, in action against Timasz Jodlowiec, Lukasz Broz and Inaki Astiz, Legia Warszawa. Picture: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

IRELAND'S Champions League dream is over for another year, and Legia Warsaw defender Inaki Astiz feels that clubs like St Patrick's Athletic simply lack the top-class players needed to compete at this level.

Legia will face Celtic at home in the first leg of their Champions League third round tie next week after they breezed Pats 6-1 on aggregate, Legia's biggest European win in 10 years. "We are pleased to be in the next round and playing Celtic in the hope of getting into the group stages but I don't know if a club like St Patrick's can ever get there," Legia man Astiz told The Herald.

"St Patrick's have some good players. Fahey was very good in midfield, he knows what to do with the ball and is very clever, the striker Fagan showed when he scored against us in Warsaw that he is sharp and can score goals, and the centre-half who came into the team (Derek Foran) did really well in defence. But to play in the Champions League and beat teams you need a team of good players and St Patrick's did not have enough of those players. They showed in Warsaw that they are good as a team, and I wish them the best in the future.

"I think the scoreline was fair in the end as St Patrick's were tired mentally and physically at the end and we did not find it hard to score, they were making mistakes and allowed us to score. We came here confident that we could do the job, we didn't play to our best in the home leg against St Patrick's but it's always hard in the first game of the season.

"Once we scored the first goal last night I knew we would win the game, that first-half goal was the key to winning the tie, I knew that we would find spaces and gaps in the Irish team later on once we had the lead goal."

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