DERRY CITY manager Declan Devine believes that the final scoreline of last night's Europa League defeat to Trabzonspor failed to do his team justice.
The Candystripes conceded three second-half goals at the Brandywell to lose 7-2 on aggregate to the Turkish giants, with the final margin harsh on City, who produced a solid first-half display to have an outside chance of producing the two goals they required to overturn last week's 4-2 loss in Turkey.
Alas, it was game over after Brazilian Paulo Henrique broke the deadlock on 56 minutes, with the striker later adding another before sub Abdulkadir Ozdemir put a slightly flattering look on the scoreline at full-time. Derry's defeat means that all League of Ireland clubs exited Europe without coming through a tie for the first time since 1999 – and it's 1997 since no side produced a win in 90 minutes.
"It's an unfair result," said Devine. "I look back at it and their goalkeeper probably made more saves than ours did. I felt we were very positive in our start to the game and we could see a bit of fear and apprehension from them in terms of how we started the game."
Midfielder Ruaidhri Higgins threatened to opening the scoring with a header from close range on the half hour and came close again shortly before the opener.
"We took the game to them and were under no illusions it was going to be difficult," continued Devine. "The quality of our ball retention and play at times was very, very good. I can't fault our effort, our commitment, our quality and I'm bitterly disappointed that the scoreline doesn't reflect what I saw in the game.
"I felt in terms of our bravery and possession of the ball was magnificent; we looked to get on the ball and make it a football match. We didn't have five at the back and four in midfield and one up front chasing lost causes. We gave it a go.
"But look, they are miles ahead of us in terms of the power of the football club, where they are in terms of the structure of the club and their league, but we can certainly be proud tonight and if we can take some of the positives into our league campaign, then I will be very happy."