My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
A stunning second half performance saw Scotland runaway as convincing 7-0 winners over Belarus in their first home UEFA 2017 Euro Qualifier. The first half had been dominated by the Scots, but they struggled to penetrate the organised Belarussian defence. They did score their opening goal at the opportune moment in the final minute of the first half when Kim Little’s stunning ball picked out Jane Ross, who headed past the keeper.
The goal, and a half-time team talk from Anna Signeul seemed to transform Scotland in the second half as they played at speed with an astonishing intensity. It took barely twenty seconds of the second half for Caroline Weir to poke the ball past the keeper before minutes later Rachel Corsie added third with a delightful finish.
Just after the hour mark, Jane Ross headed in Little’s corner before Lisa Evan’s strike made it 5-0. And with the final whistle approaching, Jo Love scored two goals, both exquisite finishes.
The win sees Scotland move top of Group 1, ahead of Iceland on goal difference. Scotland’s next qualifier is away to Macedonia on the 27th October.
With their Group 1 rivals Iceland picking up their second win of the campaign yesterday against Macedonia, Scotland knew the importance of picking up three points. However, they were coming up against an organised and disciplined Belarus side who Iceland had only beaten 2-0. And for the majority of the first half, it looked like they would frustrate the Scots.
Scotland never seemed to get out of first gear in the half, and in the opening stages were only able to muster up a series of half-chances from set-pieces. Their first attempt came in the 16th minute when Kim Little picked out Jo Love at the far post, who leaning back, volleyed well over.
It would take until the 20th minute for Scotland to get a shot on target when Jane Ross made room for herself in the box, but her tame shot was easily saved by the Belarussian keeper Inna Botyanonvskaya. Minutes later, though, they came close as Lisa Evan’s cross picked out Caroline Weir who narrowly headed over.
Set pieces seemed to be Scotland’s best bet, and it was from one that they were only denied by the woodwork. From the right-wing, Little curled the ball towards the far post where Weir’s shot was deflected onto the post.
But on the stroke of half-time, Scotland took the lead. Little, who was only just inside the Belarus’ half, looked up and played an incredible ball into the box where Jane Ross had made the run, and the Vittsjo GIK forward calmly headed past the keeper.
Whatever was said at half-time, Scotland came out in the second half how they should have started the game, and within seconds they were rewarded. Pressing high up the pitch allowed Scotland to steal the ball, Little’s pass was deflected into the box for Caroline Weir to stab the ball past the keeper.
Scotland kept up the pressure and desire, and soon they had their third, and again it came from forcing Belarus into a mistake. A stray pass from a Belarusian midfielder, back to her defence, was intercepted by Jane Ross who played Rachel Corsie into the box, and she deftly chipped the ball over the keeper and into the net.
Belarus were struggling to deal with Scotland now, and only great keeping from Botyanovskaya stopped several crosses from leading to goals. Then Weir came close to her second as her 30-yard curling effort only just crept over the crossbar. Scotland kept on looking for that next goal with Evans’ cross finding Jane Ross who headed over.
And then they did get their fourth goal from a corner that resulted from Love’s deflected shot. Little curled the corner to the near post, where Jane Ross nipped ahead of the keeper to head the ball into the empty net.
Minutes later, it was 5-0. A long clearance from the Scottish defence was headed by the Belarussian centre-back Svetlana Astahova into the path of Evans who cooly placed the ball into the far corner.
Anna Signeul introduced the Hibernian youngsters Lizzie Arnot and Chloe Arthur as they both continued their fledgling international careers. It was Arnot’s tenacity that won the corner, from which Eilish McSorley forced the keeper into a great save.
However, a momentary lapse of concentration nearly cost Scotland their clean sheet. Ekaterina Goncharova’s innocuous cross looked like it had been claimed by Scotland’s keeper Gemma Fay, but she dropped the ball. She was saved from further embarrassment as McSorley reacted to clear Anastasia Kharlanova’s shot off the line.
But Scotland then went onto to score two late goals. Scotland had the ball in the Belarus box, but the ball never seemed to settle. But, they kept their cool as Jane Ross set up Love whose 25-yard shot curled into the top-right corner.
Then, with virtually the last kick of the game, Love got her second. Sloppy Belarussian passing was pounced upon by Arnot, who used her strength to hold off the defender, before setting up Love whose finish once again found the top right corner.
Scotland (4-2-3-1): Gemma Fay, Frankie Brown, Eilish McSorley, Jennifer Beattie (Chloe Arthur 77), Hayley Lauder, Rachel Corsie (Lizzie Arnot 70), Caroline Weir (Christie Murray 82), Jo Love, Kim Little, Lisa Evans, Jane Ross.
Subs Not Used: Shannon Lynn (GK), Leanne Ross, Lana Clelland, Kirsty Smith.
Goals: Jane Ross 44, 67; Weir 46; Corsie 53; Evans 69; Love 89, 90+2.
Belarus (4-1-4-1) Inna Botyanovskaya, Elvira Urazaeva, Valeria Karachun, Svetlana Astashova, Anastasia Kunitskaya, Polina Beshten, Ekaterina Avkhimovich (Yulia Slesarchik 82), Anastasia Linnik, Anastasia Kharlanova, Anastasia Shuppo (Ekaterina Goncharova 58), Anna Kozupa (Anna Pilipenko 57).
Subs Not Used: Ekaterina Kovalchuk (GK), Ekaterina Lutskevich, Anastasia Shcherbachenia, Yulia Borisenko.
Referee: Carina Vitulano (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Lucia Abruzzese and Veronica Vettorel (both Italy)
Fourth Official: Kylie Mcmullen (Scotland)
Ground: Fir Park
The Editor of Tartan Kicks, the magazine dedicated to Scottish Women's Football