Women’s Under-19 Elite Round
Czech Republic 2-1 Scotland
Oriam Performance Centre, Edinburgh
Monday, 2 April 2018, 1pm
Match Report by Ben Kearney.
Czech Republic: Dubcova (59 minutes), Staskova (76 minutes)
Scotland: Jamie-Lee Napier (86 minutes)
Scotland slipped to an agonising defeat in the opening match of the Women’s Under-19s Elite Round as they were narrowly defeated 2-1 by top seeds Czech Republic.
The game started with a strong showing from the Czechs, who were designated as the home side, with Scotland forced to play on the break in the opening stages.
Scotland soon found their footing as Jamie-Lee Napier, deployed in a central striking role, held the ball up well against the Czech backline. She played McGregor in on goal with a defence-splitting pass, but Scotland’s number 10 could not get enough purchase on the ball.
At the other end of the pitch Scotland could have counted themselves lucky as Cumings saved well from Dubcova down low, with the ball brushing past the post seconds later the ball as a Scotland clearance nearly went into the net.
Brogan Hay was a continuous threat for Scotland driving at the Czech defence. Another defensive error nearly gave the Scots the lead as Napier pressured the goalkeeper.
Scotland were creating the better chances and could have felt slightly aggrieved to go in goalless at half-time. The best chance of the half came when McGregor hit the touchline and bulleted a cross across the face of goal to the onrushing Napier, who could only glance a header past the post.
The Czech Republic started the second-half much like the first, substitute Khyrova hitting a venomous drive into the middle of the goal, while Cumings, then produced a magnificent diving save to push the ball onto the bar minutes later.
She was finally beaten after making another valiant save down only for the ball to fall to Dubcova who duly slotted home on 58 minutes.
The Scots pushed for an equaliser with Sam Kerr driving into the box only to see her driven cross fall agonisingly beyond the reach of the incoming support.
Though Kerr was fouled inside the box in the process the referee allowed play to continue and the the Czechs took full advantage, working the ball across the box to Staskova who buried past the helpless Cumings on 76 minutes.
The young Scots responded in kind and in the final minutes scored to give themselves hope. Napier timed her run to perfection to beat the offside trap as she latched onto a long-ball from Cumings and angled a shot into the far corner with the aid of a deflection on 86 minutes.
Despite their best efforts Scotland could not find the vital equaliser and now have it all to do in their final two matches of the tournament.
Scotland Women’s Under-19s Head Coach Pauline Hamill: “I’m really proud of the way the team applied themselves, for long periods we were able to match them and control parts of the game.
“At the end we had a chance to get the draw when we were really going for it, but that’s football – I don’t think our players should be downhearted, they can be really pleased with their performance.
“There is always a chance – the important thing in qualification tournaments is that you take each game as it comes.
“All the teams are good teams and there is a possibility that there will not be one dominating team in this group. We can only control what we can do and the next target is to beat Italy.
Scotland now play Italy on Thursday, 5 April and Russia on Sunday, 8 April as they look to emerge from the Elite Round, which would see them qualify for the UEFA Women’s Under-19s European Championship in July.
Scotland: (GK) Cumings, Muir (Russell), Dalgliesh, Notely (C), McAlonie (Kane), Kerr, McGregor, Hay, Doran-Barr, Eddie, Napier
Czech Republic: (GK) Zuchova, Malatova, Valaskova, Slajsova, Staskova, Hrtankova, Dubcova (C), Bohatova, Dubcova, Dudova, Kilmova