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Radaš: Skënderbeu enjoying big stage

A 2-0 loss at Lokomotiv Moskva has not dispirited Skënderbeu, Marko Radaš admitting the Albanian pioneers felt "like children" when they first trained in Moscow.

Liridon Latifi of Skënderbeu (right) up against Baye Oumar Niasse
Liridon Latifi of Skënderbeu (right) up against Baye Oumar Niasse ©Getty Images

Skënderbeu lost their second successive UEFA Europa League Group H outing after going down 2-0 at Lokomotiv Moskva, but the Albanian debutants can take positives as they continue their European adventure.

The side from Korce, who have won their domestic title for the last five seasons, were far from outclassed and tested their more illustrious opponents on a number of occasions. However, ultimately a lack of composure and experience proved their downfall.

"First of all, this was a game for us to gain some experience for the years to come, because we are playing as an Albanian club in the group stage for the first time," said their Croatian right-back Marko Radaš.

Skënderbeu had been 180 minutes away from qualifying for the UEFA Champions League group stage, before falling to Dinamo Zagreb in the play-off round. Now they are pitted against Lokomotiv, Sporting CP and Beşiktaş in the UEFA Europa League.

"Some players here have never played outside Albania, so we are very proud as we played a very good game," Radaš said. "Maybe things did not go our way, but with time and a bit of luck I think things will be better."

Though goals from Baye Oumar Niasse and Aleksandr Samedov sealed victory for Lokomotiv, the visitors certainly had their moments and enjoyed a good second-half spell before the deficit was doubled with 17 minutes left. In particular, winger Bernard Berisha caught the eye with his direct running and excellent work-rate and, at 23, he is certainly one for the future.

Skënderbeu ahead of the game
Skënderbeu ahead of the game©Getty Images

"When our young players get a little bit more confidence, things are going to be better," Radaš said.

While results may not be forthcoming at present, Radaš noted that Skënderbeu's players are just happy to have the opportunity to play on such a big stage. "Yesterday when we arrived, we had training and we were almost like children," the 31-year-old said.

"We did not want to leave the stadium because it is very nice. I am glad for the young players to have been able to play at this stadium and to work for something. I hope we will continue to play well and steal some points somewhere."