UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier
Russia 4–0 Scotland
Thursday, 10 October 2019, kick-off 7.45pm (UK time)
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Russia: Dzyuba (57’, 70’), Ozdoev (60’), Golovin (84’)
Scotland conceded four second half goals as they were beaten by Russia on a tough night in Moscow.
Three goals in thirteen minutes just after half time put the game beyond reach for Steve Clarke’s men who had battled well in the opening 45.
The defeat means Scotland place their hope on reaching EURO 2020 through the UEFA Nations Leauge play-off which will take place in March 2020.
It was a much changed Scotland side from September’s double header with Russia and Belgium. Debuts were handed to Mikey Devlin and John Fleck, whilst Liam Palmer and Oli Burke also started.
Most of the opening 45 was played in Scotland’s half, but David Marshall was relatively untroubled, well protected by Mulgrew and Devlin who were playing together for the first time. Steve Clarke’s side were compact defensively and looked to Oli Burke to hold the ball up and allow McGinn, Fraser and Snodgrass to support him.
The hosts looked dangerous early on with full-back’s Mario Fernandes and Fyodor Kudryashov both threatening from wide areas. Kudryashov was presented with Russia’s first chance after Fernandes whipped a good ball to the back post, but the unmarked defender couldn’t keep his left footed effort down.
Russia hadn’t conceded in 11 home qualifiers and dominated the ball throughout but were faced with a well drilled Scotland side in the first half. The aforementioned Oli Burke’s pace was a threat on the counter and he was well supported by an energetic midfield five. Robert Snodgrass benefited from strong hold up play by Burke early on and looked to have broken through on goal when he latched onto a flick on. But a heavy touch let him down as he bounded forward.
Despite their pressure in the first half the home side were limited to mainly half chances. The colossal Artem Dzyuba was Russia’s main threat. His best chance of the half came from a deep cross from the left which he glanced wide. Devlin marshalled the Zenit target man well early on.
Scotland maintained an offensive threat and Snodgrass again broke from a Burke flick on towards the end of the first half. His attempted through ball was agonisingly close to reaching the marauding Ryan Fraser but was well cut out by Georgi Dzhikiya. A chance that could have changed the course of the game.
As the second half began Scotland started to grow into the game and gain more possession of the ball. Dundee United forward Laurence Shankland replaced Burke at the break for his Scotland debut and started brightly.
But it was the home side who broke the deadlock 11 minutes into the second half. A corner whipped into the box was met by Dzyuba who showed real technique to volley a left footed shot beyond Marshall into the top corner. A harsh blow for Scotland who had enjoyed their best spell of the game previous to the goal.
It was 2-0 soon after. After a period of possession in the final third Aleksandr Golovin played the ball back to Magomed Ozdoev who struck a venomous volley from 25 yards into the net.
Dzyuba almost added another when he cracked an effort against the crossbar but would get his second after 70 minutes. The forward reacting first to a second ball six yards out to score past a helpless Marshall.
Ryan Christie and Stuart Armstrong both came on off the bench to add creativity and fresh legs, but the game was out of Scotland’s reach by that point.
Russia however were not finished. Golovin was creative throughout and having laid on the first goal for Dzyuba, the forward returned the favour playing a neat one-two to set up Golovin who finished into the bottom corner.
Scotland now turn their attention to San Marino who they face on Sunday at Hampden as they aim to finish their qualification campaign on a positive note.
Russia: Guilherme, Fernandes, Semenov, Ozdoev, Barinov, Kudryashov, Dzhikiya, Golovin, Zhirkov (Cheryshev, 66’), Ionov (Akhmetov, 79’) Dzyuba (Komlichenko, 86’)
Subs not used: Lunev, Dzhanaev, Ignatyev, Belyaev, Bakaev, Kuzyaev, Karavaev, Chistyakov, Petrov
Scotland: Marshall, Palmer, Robertson, Mulgrew, Devlin, Fleck (Armstrong, 81’), Snodgrass, McGinn, Burke (Shankland, 45’), McGregor, Fraser (Christie, 68’)
Subs not used: McLaughlin, MacGillivray, Findlay, Gallagher, Russell, Forrest, O’Donnell, Taylor