Women’s Under-19 Elite Round
Italy 4-1 Scotland
Thursday, 5 April 2018, 6pm
Match Report by Ben Kearney.
Scotland’s hopes of progressing past the Elite Round ended as they succumbed to a 4-1 defeat to a strong Italian side.
The game started perfectly for the Scots, scoring after only 13 seconds. Shannon McGregor caught the defence napping on the right before playing a low ball into the box that the keeper could only parry into the path of Sam Kerr who guided the ball into the net.
The early goal failed to rattle Italy, who responded immediately, Caruso shooting straight into the arms of Scotland keeper Cumings after a well-worked move.
Scotland responded with Dorran-Barr lofting a long-ball over the defence to Napier, who was unlucky with her touch when trying to set up the on-rushing McGregor.
Italy began to exert greater influence on the game and equalised after 32 minutes. Bonfantini found herself in the middle of the box and made no mistake, powering a volley past the helpless Cumings.
The game was turned on its head on the stroke of half time the end of the first half. Scotland were caught in possession and Kuenrath had the time to place her shot in the corner from the edge of the area with the last kick of the ball.
Italy extended their lead on 52 minutes as the ball was floated into the Scotland area, Bonfantini audaciously flicking the ball into the roof of the net.
Scotland continued to battle valiantly, with Napier having the best chance of the half as she was played in on goal, only to drag her shot agonisingly wide.
The final minutes of the game were played in the Italian half, and a flowing move saw Cairney hit a venomous drive just past the goal.
Scotland's misery was compounded in added time the Italians pounced on the counter-attack and Bardin was rightfully awarded a penalty after a late challenge from Eddie.
Italian captain Curuso made no mistake, powering the ball into the top corner of the net to end both the match and Scotland’s chances of qualification.
Scotland Head Coach Pauline Hamill: “The players took the fight to them from the first whistle and deserved the early lead.
“I didn’t think they penetrated us a lot in the first half and maybe their goals were from mistakes on our part.
“I’m really pleased with a lot of the performance and there are a lot of things we can learn for the Russia game.
“As a coach I always look at perspective and I think that when you see the development in the players individually and collectively as a group, I’m really proud of how they have come on in such a short space of time.
“The challenge for some of them now is how to make that step to the next level, but certainly one that some of them are more than capable of doing.
“These two games will have been a brilliant experience for them and we will go out to win that game against Russia on Sunday.”
Scotland now play Russia at Ainslie Park, Edinburgh, on Sunday, 8 April in the final match of the Elite Round. They will hope to salvage a morale-boosting victory against a Russian side that have conceded 14 goals in their two matches in the competition so far.
Scotland: (GK) Cumings, Muir, Dalgliesh, (C) Notley, Kerr, Newsham (Cairney), McGregor, Hay (Davidson), Doran-Barr (McAlonie), Eddie, Napier
Subs: (GK) Clachers, McAlonie, Cairney, Russell, Connor, Brown, Davidson, Kane, Gover
Italy: (GK) Lauria, Panzeri, Merlo, Soffia, Filangeri, (C) Caruso, Regazzoli, Cantore, Kuenrath, Catena
Subs: (GK) Aprile, Pettenzuzzo, Parascandolo, Cecotti, Bardin, Nichele, Baldi, Santoro, Greggi