Carling Nations Cup decider
Republic of Ireland 1-0 Scotland
Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Scotland finished second in the inaugural Carling Nations Cup after a narrow defeat to hosts Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium tonight.
Giovanni Trapattoni's men lifted the trophy thanks to a well-taken solo goal from Robbie Keane.
The Spurs striker pounced in the 23rd minute, collecting the ball on the half-way line and racing through the Scotland defence before slotting a low shot past Allan McGregor.
There were few clear-cut chances in an even first half.
Scotland's first opportunity came within seven minutes. Scott Brown went on a driving run-through the midfield and played in Charlie Adam, who fired just over. Shay Given had to look smart to tip a powerful long-range Phil Bardsley shot onto the bar.
At the other end, Ireland's Stephen Hunt fired straight at McGregor, before Keane broke the deadlock.
Scotland enjoyed more possession, and had the best of the chances, in the second half.
But Ireland almost doubled their lead within the opening minutes. Hunt caught out the Scotland defence with a quick free-kick to Simon Cox, but his low shot just flashed wide.
After a quiet night by his usual standards, Charlie Adam made way for Barry Bannan, and the creative midfielder was involved straight away, picking out Steven Naismith in the right wing. His cross into the box was just too far in front of James Forrest.
Craig Levein brought on Chris Maguire and Ross McCormack as Scotland chased the equaliser.
Kenny Miller was booked for his protests after a penalty claim was waved away when he tumbled in the box under pressure.
Maguire found Naismith with a cross into the box, but he mistimed his shot and sent the ball high and wide.
Miller had two decent chances as the clock counted down. The Bursaspor striker showed great strength to collect the ball in the box under pressure. He managed to flick the ball round Given, but the ball flashed across the face of goal.
He then beat the offside trap to lift the ball over the goalkeeper, but it went just wide.
Scotland had one last opportunity in the dying seconds, winning a free-kick after a Stephen Ward hand ball, but Bannan fired the ball straight at Given.
McGregor (GK), Whittaker, Bardsley, Berra, Hanley, Robson (Maguire 75), Forrest (McCormack 85), Brown, Miller (Cpt), Adam (Bannan 62), Naismith.
Unused subs: Gilks (GK), McArthur, G Caldwell, Wilson, Martin, Turner (GK).
Sunday, 29 May 2011