Cyprus Cup 2015

Scotland 2-1 Korea Republic

Monday 9th March, 2015

GSZ Larnaca, Cyprus

(Little 16 pen, Murray 89; Yeo 34)

Goals in either half for captain Kim Little and substitute Christie Murray gave Scotland a deserved Cyprus Cup win over the Republic of Korea in Larnaca.

The team's first early afternoon game meant hot conditions, but despite this it was the Scots who finished strongest to notch the Group A victory. Canada, who beat Italy, won the group with Scotland in third place.

Anna Signeul's side got a pre-match boost when Chelsea's Ji So-Yun wasn't on the Korean team-sheet. The 2014 players' player of the year in England was ill and not even on the subs' bench.

Signeul continued to mix-up her team with an eye to the Euro 2017 qualifiers. Gemma Fay returned in goal to replace teenager Megan Cunningham, while Lana Clelland became the third striker in as many games at the top of the 4-2-3-1 formation.

The Koreans started with great purpose, but the first chance fell to Jo Love, who shot over following a Little corner.

Scotland took the lead for the first time in the tournament with a penalty after 16 minutes. Hayley Lauder sent a pass into the box for Fiona Brown, and the Glasgow City attacker was taken down by right back Kim before she could touch the ball.

Finnish referee Lina Lehtovaara pointed to the spot and the ever-deadly Little slammed the ball into the roof of the net.

Four minutes later a near-identical move nearly put Scotland two ahead. Lauder again supplied Brown in the box and this time the winger returned the compliment with a neat back-heel - but Lauder's shot went well over the bar.

Fay wasn't called into action until the 31st minute when she dived at the feet of Yoo as the striker chased a through ball.

The keeper was beaten three minutes later when Yeo, who had come on a sub five minutes earlier, headed a corner home at the near post.

Two minutes from the interval Park came close to giving the Koreans the lead, but her curling shot went wide of Fay's left hand post.

Jenny Beattie provided a stirring start to the second half when she dispossessed a Korean player, beat three defenders, exchanged passes with Little, and then crossed - but there were no takers.

Nevertheless it was the Koreans who carved out four decent chances in their most dangerous spell of the game.

Scotland took control in the final 30 minutes with Love, sub Caroline Weir, Lauder and Kirsty Smith all coming close.

Nine minutes from time left back Lauder set up the best chance of all for Love, but her far post header was wide.

The winner arrived one minute from the end of regulation time and was a beauty. Little released Lauder, whose dangerous cross was turned in by Murray.

Full backs Smith and Lauder were among Scotland's most influential players, along with Little, who scored her second goal in two games.

Signeul said: "I'm very happy. We deserved it and we needed it - you know how important a win is for morale.

"We've improved from game to game and again it was a new starting eleven which just shows the depth in the squad now.

"This is the first time we have felt able to change around the team so much and that's down to the hard work of the players.

"The coaches now have some difficult decisions to make - but good decisions."

Scotland (4-2-3-1): Fay; Smith, Corsie, Beattie, Lauder; Crichton, Love (L Ross 90+3); J Ross, Little, Fiona Brown (Murray 60); Clelland (Weir 68)