Russia Strike Back To Sink Scotland
Faizan Hashmi 1 month ago Sat 07th September 2019 | 02:10 AM
Glasgow, Sept 6 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 7th Sep, 2019 ) :Scotland's hopes of automatic qualification for next year's European championships suffered a huge blow as Russia came from behind to win 2-1 at Hampden on Friday.
John McGinn's early opener was just reward for Scotland's bright start, but Artem Dzyuba's equaliser five minutes before half-time sapped the hosts' energy and belief.
Russia controlled the second period and could have won by more than a solitary goal when Stephen O'Donnell turned Aleksandr Golovin's dangerous cross into his own net on the hour mark.
After opening their campaign with a disastrous 3-0 defeat in Kazakhstan that ultimately cost Alex McLeish his job, Scotland are playing catch up and needed a win to maintain realistic ambitions of finishing in the top two positions of Group I.
Scotland will now likely have to come through a playoff next March, earned by winning their group in the Nations League, to reach a first major tournament in 24 years.
Steve Clarke was taking charge of just his third match as Scotland boss and optimism he can turn around his nation's fortunes was in evidence in the first 20 minutes.
Russia were forced back with the talented trio of Andy Robertson, Ryan Fraser and Callum McGregor a constant danger down the left.
Just 11 minutes in, the hosts led as Fraser's low cross was horribly spilled by Russian goalkeeper Guilherme and McGinn gratefully slotted into an unguarded net.
- Russia take control - However, the World Cup quarter-finalists quickly wrestled back control and could have levelled within five minutes as the towering presence of 6ft 4in (196cm) Dzyuba got above Charlie Mulgrew for a looping header David Marshall did well to tip over the bar.
Scotland were dragged deeper towards their own goal as the half wore on and it was no surprise when Russia did equalise as Dzyuba this time showed a fleetness of foot to drill low past Marshall after the ball rebounded into his path off Robertson.
Golovin should have scored when he sauntered through the Scotland midfield only to fire over and also saw a goalbound effort blocked by Mulgrew.
The Wigan goalkeeper made another stunning stop to deny Zhirkov a spectacular goal on his 90th cap to keep Scotland in the game.
But it was to no avail on another sobering night for Scotland.