UEFA European Qualifier
Slovenia 0-3 SCOTLAND
Tuesday 22 September, kick-off 3pm (UK time)
Ajdovšcina Stadion, Slovenia
Little 29, 49, 59
A Kim Little hat-trick saw Scotland get their UEFA European Qualification campaign off to a flyer in Slovenia as they won 3-0 at the Ajdovšcina Stadion.
The Seattle Reign’s midfielder opened her account with a fine chipped goal before adding another two in the second-half. Overall it was a commanding display from Anna Signeul’s team who can go into next month’s double-header against Belarus and FYR Macedonia with confidence.
Anna opted to start with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Kim Little, Lisa Evans and Jo Love supporting Jane Ross up-top. Rachel Corsie and Leanne Crichton would patrol the centre of midfield, with a back four of Lauder, Dieke, Beattie and Brown. Captain Gemma Fay – representing her country for the 185th time - started in goals.
Both sides started sprightly with Jane Ross just missing a through ball from Jennifer Beattie on 6 minutes while Slovenia captain Mateja Zver went close at Gemma Fay’s near post moments later.
Some fine play down the left flank saw Kim Little completely skin her marker and run into the box on 15 minutes. The Seattle Reign midfielder shifted her body and curled the ball, but the shot was just too high and went over the bar.
As expected Slovenia were proving a difficult side to break down and looked happy to give Scotland the lion’s share of possession in return for the chance to break forward. Zver was at it again on 20 minutes, blasting a shot just outside of the post.
Just before the half-hour mark Kim Little gave Scotland the lead. Some nice build-up play through the middle saw Rachel Corsie thread the ball to her Seattle teammate in the box. Surrounded by defenders Kim was able to deftly chip the ball over Sonja Cevnik and into the net. She’s scored many a fine goal in her career but is likely to cherish that one.
With four minutes remaining of the first-half Little turned provider, darting in from the left and crossing to Jane Ross. The Vittsjo forward collected the ball with only the keeper to beat but was quickly crowded out before she could get a clean strike at the ball.
Minutes into the second-half Scotland doubled their lead. Jane Ross’ clever ball over the top of the Slovenian backline was picked up by Little who rounded the keeper and blasted in for her second of the game. It wasn’t quite as impressive as her opener but it was just as important and gifted the visitors a comfortable advantage.
That goal seemed to jerk the home side into life with Urska Zganoc whipping in a couple of dangerous crosses from the left.
On 59 minutes Little claimed her hat-trick and Scotland’s third goal of the game. Crichton poking a clever pass through the Slovenian defence that found Little who, again, rounded the keeper and made no mistake with the finish. 3-0 to Scotland.
Zver almost provided Slovenia with a consolation goal on 67 minutes but her looping strike cannoned off the post and away from danger.
The remainder of the match saw a settled Scotland sit on their lead with introductions of Caroline Weir and Lizzie Arnot showcasing the squad’s future talent.
Substitute Leanne Ross had the ball in the back of the net right at the death but fell foul of the linesman's flag.
Next up for Scotland is a home tie with Belarus on October 23rd followed by a trip to FYR Macedonia four days later.
Scotland | Fay (GK, C), Dieke, Love (Arnot, 67), Lauder, Little, Crichton (Weir, 62), Evans, J.Ross (L.Ross 85) Corsie, Beattie, Brown. Subs not used: Lynn (GK), Smith, Weir, Murray, Clelland