Scotland continued their 100% record in their UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 Qualifying Campaign as they beat Slovenia 3-1. Just like the respective away game, Scotland was below par and up against an organised Slovenia team – but once again, Scotland showed great patience to pick up their fifth win of the group.
Scotland took the lead in the 19th minute when Jane Ross was given room to turn on the edge of the box and she picked out the bottom right corner. Despite the home side dominating possession, it was Slovenia who scored next through Kristina Erman’s looping header. But the scores were level for just three minutes as Jane Ross scored her second, and eighth of the qualifiers.
Early in the second half, Scotland sealed the win with Kim Little’s penalty, which the Seattle Reign player had won herself.
Slovenia was happy to sit deep and soak up possession, but early on Scotland showed their ability to break through. Lisa Evans used her pace down the right-wing and put in a dangerous cross, picking out Leanne Crichton whose shot was brilliantly saved by Slovenia’s keeper Eva Vamberger.
The home side continued to put in the crosses, but they were failing to threaten the visitors although the keeper looked suspect when coming to punch the ball clear.
Scotland could have scored when Evans won possession on the right and picked out Kim Little in the box, but her shot was saved by Vamberger.
And then, Slovenia created a superb chance on the counter. Dominika Čonč was given the space and sent in Tjaša Tibaut behind the defence, but her shot curled wide of the left post.
Then Scotland took the lead. A good passing move just outside the Slovenian box saw Hayley Lauder pass to Jane Ross who was allowed to turn her marker, and then picked out the bottom right corner with a left-footed shot.
Scotland could have doubled their lead soon after with both Lauder and Evans having decent shots saved by the Slovenian keeper.
Late on in the first half, Slovenia had a great chance from a free-kick on the half-way line which picked out their captain Tjaša Tibaut on the left, but she fired her shot wide of the near post.
And then, minutes later, Slovenia did equalise, coming from a free-kick that was needlessly given away by Crichton. Anisa Rola launched a ball towards the left side of the box towards Kristina Erman whose looping header looking like it was going over, but forced Gemma Fay to scramble back to her line and despite getting a hand to it – the ball just crept in.
It only took three minutes though for Scotland to retake the lead. Brilliant interplay saw Little play Lauder into the box, she cut the ball back across to Jane Ross who was left with a simple finish.
Six minutes into the second half, Scotland won a penalty when Kim Little had her heels clipped by Dominika Čonč, and eventually the referee pointed to the spot. Little took the penalty, and placed it to the left, just beyond Vamberger’s reach.
Slovenia had a decent chance to pull a goal back from a free-kick, and despite Erman’s delivery being dangerous, it was just too powerful and ran through to Fay.
In the 65th minute, the visitors had a couple of great chances. Rogan’s corner picked out Eržen at the near post, but she failed to get a strong connection on the header. And then Erman had the ball on the edge of the box, but under pressure from Ifeoma Dieke, she shot wide.
Two of Scotland’s subs linked up to nearly score their fourth when Caroline Weir played a cross-field ball to Leanne Ross who controlled the ball but shot straight at the keeper.
Slovenia should have scored when Erman threaded Eržen through, but from a great position she blasted the ball over.
But it was always Scotland who looked the likelier to make a breakthrough. Weir broke into the box but took one touch too many to allow Erman to make a superb last-ditch tackle. The ball fell to Leanne Ross who had her shot blocked before Evans saw her effort deflected wide.
Minutes later, Jane Ross had a chance to secure her hat-trick, but from a Little corner, her flicked header just went wide of the far post.
And in the closing moments, the two Ross’ linked up with Jane Ross cutting the ball back to Kim Little, but the ball never settled at her feet and the chance was gone.
Scotland’s next qualifier is at home to Iceland on the 3rd June 2016.