Scotland vs Russia
European Qualifiers Group I
7:45pm Friday 6th September
Russia left Scotland’s Euro 2020 qualifying hopes hanging by a thread as they came from behind to win 2-1 in Hampden Park.
Spirits were raised by john McGinn with an early goal, after a mistake by goalkeeper Guilherme that was Russian, however, the people equalised soon before half-time through captain Artem Dzyuba.
Russia’s pressure was incessant, and they led when Stephen O’Donnell switched the ball in his own net hoping to stop Yuri Zhirkov meeting a cross.
While Russia hit both the post and crossbar david Marshall maintained Scotland from the match with a series of saves, as they fell six points adrift of the two places in Group 48, and the hosts have been unable to threaten in the final stages
If Scotland were to retain any hopes of qualifying mechanically before welcoming the world side Belgium on 30, this is a must-win game. There looms to face Russia in Moscow A trip next month, using the route to Euro 2020 only searching likely through the Nations League place.
There has been a verve about the early drama of Scotland, and they were ahead because of a goalkeeping error that is dreadful from Guilherme. Ryan Fraser’s rash cross was spilled by him right into the path of McGinn, who gleefully accepted the gift and slammed his first objective.
Russia introduced a threat, especially, although hampden was suddenly living with sound. The 6’4″ striker out jumped Charlie Mulgrew but his header was tipped over by Marshall. The people started to dominate possession, with Aleksandr Golovin at the heart of much of their great work. He thumped a free-kick into the wall, before Aleksei Ionov cross was tipped off by Marshall.
Though there was a touch of luck at the build-up the growing Russian pressure eventually paid off on 39 minutes with the equaliser. He picked up the ball at the box, and golovin’s pass was deflected by Andy Robertson to the path of Dzyuba and then coolly slotted it past Marshall.
The momentum of russia continued at the beginning of the second halfof the After Liam Cooper was booked for fouling Dzyuba, Golovin strike was blocked by Mulgrew. Since the Scotland defence parted, the ball was carried by the Russia midfielder 50 metres, but his shot was just too high.
Scotland were forced to soak up enormous amounts of pressure, together with Oli McBurnie unable to supply an out-ball and isolated. The midfield was stretched to breaking point, but when it arrived, also the 2nd Russian target, was beautifully worked.
Ionov, who discovered Golovin inside Cooper first intercepted ryan Fraser, and his cross was pitched home at the post by a combo of Zhirkov and O’Donnell, though the Kilmarnock man seemed to find the final touch.
Marshall maintained Scotland in the match having a brilliant fingertip save from Mario Fernandes’ header, deflecting it on the pub, until Russia hit the framework of the goal again seconds later, when Magomed Ozdoev’s shot flicked off equally Scott McTominay along with the far post.
Steve Clarke introduced Kenny McLean along with Ryan Christie, and the Celtic midfielder found a sight of goal but shot directly at Guilherme. The changes appeared to galvanise Scotland, and Dmitri Barinov ended on the border of their box Fraser series. He curled the consequent free-kick narrowly wide, although it turned out to be a position for the dead-ball abilities of Mulgrew.
Marshall saved again, although Scotland slackness then gave Zhirkov the other sight of purpose. The game was wide open – while Scotland needed to chase, Russia were intent on completing them off and they went looking for a thirdparty.
McGregor’s goal-bound shot was blocked by Fernandes, before Russia chased the ball away as Scotland hauled bodies. The line was cleared off by Mulgrew, although on the rest, Russia needed two man overlap.
There was no rescue mission in the final phases, as the game shut out. A visit to a major tournament looks as remote as ever following this result, although scotland were maybe jeered off.
Scotland sponsor World Cup third-placed side Belgium on Monday on Sky Sports Football in 7pm; kick-off is at 7.45pm. On the same evening Russia sponsor Kazakhstan about the Red Button out of 7.40pm; kick-off at 7.45pm.
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