Scotland 2-0 San Marino
UEFA Under-21 Championship Qualifier
Thursday 5 September, kick-off 7.30pm
St Mirren Park
Scotland: OG (20'), Middleton (27')
Scotland started their UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win over San Marino in Paisley. An own goal and a Glenn Middleton strike in the first half secured victory in what was a frustrating night in Paisley for the young Scots.
It was Scotland who started the match as the brighter of the teams; the ball sticking to their half of the pitch for most of the opening ten minutes.
The first real chance of the half fell to George Johnston; a Billy Gilmour corner met the head of the centre back, but the ball was gathered by De Angelis in the San Marino goal.
The breakthrough came for Scotland with 20 minutes on the clock; an own goal – fortuitous, perhaps, but just reward for some powerful set-up play by Jordan Holsgrove. He drove into the box, cut the ball back across the face of goal with a low, stinging cross. It was turned in by Tosi, of San Marino.
It should have been two just five minutes later. Patrick Reading played a fizzing low cross in from the left – Glenn Middleton met it, but it went inches wide.
Middleton made amends almost immediately. Allan Campbell tried an audacious shot – flicking it behind him with a deft touch. It was parried by 'keeper, into the path of the the Scotland 11, Middleton. He made no mistake this time, firing home.
WATCH | Glenn Middleton makes it 2-0 to Scotland after 27 minutes of the first half in Paisley.— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) September 5, 2019
📺 You can watch live here on Twitter or on YouTube: https://t.co/6dbJxfkAmT#SCO21s pic.twitter.com/PAOAUOnlOj
Scotland were frustrated in their attempts to increase the gap as the half continued; a combination of last-gasp defending from San Marino, shots off target and some solid saves from De Angelis kept the score at 2-0 as the sides headed in at the break.
Kyle Magennis looked to get the young Scots off to a quick start shortly after the break; his powerful header from an inswinging cross was on target, but gathered by De Angelis. The San Marino 'keeper was called in to action again with 52 minutes on the clock, making a smart save with his feet from Holsgrove after some nice inter-play with Billy Gilmour.
In increasingly wet conditions, Scotland pushed for a third as the half wore on; there were chances but none troubled the 'keeper. Despite the frustration of the Scotland forward line, Robby McCrorie passed the half in quiet fashion, without any saves of note.
A frustrating second half for Scotland. Scotland could have been more clinical in front of goal. This, combied with dogged defending from the visitors, who – to their credit – handed the much of what Scotland threw at them.
Up next for Scotland: a trip to face Croatia on Tuesday.
Man of the Match: Jordan Holsgrove
Scotland: Robby McCrorie (GK), Reading (Harvie, 86'), Johnston, Campbell, Magennis, Gilmour (Maguire, 86'), Middleton (Scott, 70'), Holsgrove, McLennan (Smith, 63'), Ferguson (McAllister, 70'), Ross McCrorie (C)
Unused substitutes: Wright (GK), Doohan (GK),
San Marino: De Angelis (GK), Conti (Franciosi, 85'), Moretti, Pancotti, R. Michelotti (Nanni, 85'), Babboni (Dolcini, 55'), Raschi, Tosi (Liverani,55'), Cecchetti (Quaranta, 73'), Cevoli (C), Ceccaroli
Unused substitutes: Paolini (GK), Colonna (GK), Zucchi