UEFA Under-21 European Championships Qualifier
Scotland 0 - 2 Belgium
Tuesday 16th November 2021, kick-off 7.05pm
Tannadice Park, Dundee
Live on BBC Scotland
Scotland Under-21s lost 2-0 to a strong Belgium side who stretched their 100% record in UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifying Group I.
Lois Openda’s first half penalty was followed up with a late second from Raskin to inflict defeat on the Under-21s.
Scot Gemmill named three changes to his starting eleven after Friday nights victory over Kazakhstan.
Cieran Slicker, Jack Burroughs and Ben Williamson replaced Archie Mair, Harrison Ashby and Dapo Mebude as the Under-21s looked to follow up on Friday’s professional performance at Tannadice.
As it happened
The youngsters started brightly and were inches from opening the scoring when Glenn Middleton was sent through on goal inside the opening ten minutes. Being forced slightly wide, the St Johnstone man struck his effort narrowly wide of the far post.
The visitors immediately looked to respond, but with a similarly tight angle to work with, Openda dragged his effort wide of the target.
Belgium asserted their control on the game with a host of dangerous efforts on goal, but Slicker stood up to the test.
The Scottish keeper couldn’t deny the Belgians an opening goal after Josh Doig brought Vertessen to the ground inside the box, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. From the resulting penalty, Openda stepped and converted low to Slicker’s right, sending the youngster the wrong way.
Scot Gemmill was forced in to a change when Middleton went down injured in the second half and was replaced by Dapo Mebude.
Three minutes later, Lewis Fiorini was presented with a glorious opportunity to pull Scotland level from inside twelve yards, but the on loan Manchester City man saw his goal bound effort denied by Lammens.
Fiorini was involved immediately again, spinning his marker in the box before being bundled to the ground. It looked a certain penalty, but the referee waved play on.
As Scotland pushed for an equaliser, Belgium nearly punished the hosts on the break when a swift counterattack led to a terrific opportunity for Openda to add a second goal to his name. Cutting back on to his right foot, the striker sent his effort low on target only to see the onrushing Slicker charge out brilliantly to block the shot.
Fiorini continued to be a thorn in the side of the Belgian defence and with just over 15 minutes left on the clock, the 19-year-old tested Lammens between the posts, but his effort was palmed wide.
With just minutes remaining, Belgium added a late second through Raskin, who smashed his effort past Slicker from close range after a pinpoint ball in to the box picked out the midfielders run.
How the teams lined up
Scotland: Slicker, Burroughs, Mayo, Welsh, Doig (Clayton, 45’), Kelly, Williamson, High, Leonard, Fiorini, Middleton (Mebude, 60’)
Unused subs: Banks, Pressley, Montgomery, Anderson, Mair, McKinstry, Kennedy
Belgium: Lammens, Van der Brempt, Pletinckx, de Winter, Siquet (Sardella, 90'), Raskin, Onana, Ndenbe, Vertessen (Balikwisha, 65’), Openda, Verschaeren (Kana, 73’)
Unused subs: Delanghe, Keita, Ait El Hadj, Samoise, Deman, Zaroury
The long wait for international football to return begins now, with Scotland Under-21s back in action in March 2022, when they face a home match against Turkey.