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Scotland's winning end to Cyprus Cup campaign

Wednesday, 07 March 2012

Scotland senior ladies finished their 2012 Cyprus Women's Cup campaign on a positive note with a 2-0 victory over South Africa in Paralimni.


The result meant that Scotland finished 9th in the tournament, an outcome that could be considered somewhat disappointing when compared with their strong 4th place finish in last year's tournament. However, Canada and Italy, two of Scotland's high ranking group opponents, went on to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively, perhaps demonstrating just how tough a task the Scots' had faced. 


Scotland never looked troubled against an athletic South African side which will compete at this summer's Olympics, and coach Anna Signeul said: 'Overall it was a good tournament. We won two games and lost two - we are developing all the time. It is difficult to play against South Africa because they are all individually strong and they will run all day. We kept a clean sheet, which is very good'.


Yet again Signeul was forced to reshuffle the back four, with Ifeoma Dieke unable to play because of the ankle injury she received against Italy. Rachel Corsie, rested in that game, returned to partner Rhonda Jones in the centre of defence, with Emma Fernon moving over to right back and Hayley Lauder on the left.

Signeul also switched to a 4-3-1-2 formation, and her side started very brightly. Jane Ross should have scored in the first minute when she had only goalkeeper Roxanne Barker to beat from close range, but failed to take the opportunity.

The same player hit the underside of the bar a few minutes later, but the goal was only delayed until the eighth minute.


Lauder collected the ball on the halfway line and sent a pass up the left channel to Jane Ross. She took the ball into the box before slipping it to Kim Little and the Arsenal player showed how to finish when she guided the ball past Barker from a tight angle.

The South Africans, who played in the weaker Group C, seemed overawed by the Scots, but after the goal came much more into the game. Fast and strong, they enjoyed more possession, but Gemma Fay was only tested by a well struck free kick taken by Nothando Vilakazi.

Slightly against the run of play, Scotland went two up midway through the half. Little's persistence presented Jo Love with a shooting opportunity and Amanda Sister handled in the box. Little stepped up and converted the penalty with aplomb.

South Africa brought on two new strikers at the start of the second half, and continued to drive at the Scottish defence, which was well marshalled by Corsie. Their captain, Amanda Dlamini, finally got within eyeball distance of Fay, but the Scotland captain managed to smother the danger.

With Corsie coming off and being replaced by Rachel Small, South Africa almost got back into the game with a superb shot from 30 yards by Charlotte Ntsibande. Fay was beaten by its power, but the ball crashed back off the bar.

There wasn't much attacking play from Scotland in the second half, but eight minutes from the end Jane Ross and substitute Christie Murray set up Little for a shot just outside the South African box. The Arsenal player, operating between the midfield three and the two strikers, hit the ball crisply but not accurately enough to ensure her hat-trick.

Another chance for Little, from a free kick which ended the match, went just wide as the Scots ran out comfortable winners.

To see all the results and final placings from the tournament, check out the Cyprus Women's Cup official website.

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Scotland striker Jane Ross in action against the Netherlands
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