PARIS: Scott McTominay scored twice as Steve Clarke’s Scotland claimed a famous 2-0 victory over Spain at Hampden Park in Euro 2024 qualifying on Tuesday, their first win in 39 years over one of football’s biggest heavyweights.
McTominay’s goals came after he also scored two in a 3-0 win over Cyprus on Saturday and ended three-time European champions Spain’s 19-game unbeaten run in European qualifiers. The result also puts Scotland top of Group A with six points from two games.
Mateo Kovacic also scored twice as Croatia defeated Turkey 2-0 away for their first win in Group D. Romania and Switzerland both won in Group ‘I’, continuing their perfect starts.
Spain’s players were warned after McTominay scored two late goals in Scotland’s opening win over Cyprus.
But few expected him to do it again Tuesday against a team that had not lost a European qualifying game since a 2-1 loss to Slovakia ahead of the 2016 tournament.
Spain had not lost to Scotland since Maurice Johnston scored two and Kenny Dalglish added another in a 3-1 World Cup qualifier in November 1984 and it was probably Scotland’s best result since beating France in 2007.
“The manager said before getting on the bus for the stadium: ‘This is your chance to create a legacy as a Scotland player’,” said McTominay. “These are the sort of nights in 20-30 years you remember as a player. When you watch back the game you say I was there. It’s what the game is about.”
New Spain coach Luis de la Fuente made eight changes to the lineup of the team that started Euro 2024 qualifying with a 3-0 win over Norway.
But Manchester United midfielder McTominay gave the hosts a dream start by slotting home Andrew Robertson’s cutback in the seventh minute.
Ryan Christie went close to a second before Joselu, who scored twice on his debut against Norway at the weekend, hit the crossbar for Spain.
Lyndon Dykes missed a golden chance to double the Scots’ advantage in first-half added time, but dinked the ball over the bar after racing through on goal.
McTominay made no such mistake six minutes after the restart, though, drilling home a fine left-footed volley after excellent work from Kieran Tierney.
Spain piled on late pressure but failed to create many clear-cut chances as Scotland held on to the delight of a raucous crowd in Glasgow.
The loss is a serious early setback for De la Fuente who took over from Luis Enrique following a World Cup last-16 exit to Morocco.
“It’s clear that the two chances they had they put away and we tried, we hit the woodwork twice, we had a lot of chances, above all in the first half,” Spain midfielder Rodri told Teledeporte. “We have to improve these lapses, and these things that cost us against these teams.”
Scotland are top of a difficult Group ‘A’ that also includes Erling Haaland’s Norway and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s Georgia.
The Georgians played out a 1-1 draw with Norway in the other Group ‘A’ game in Batumi.
The Scandinavians took the lead through Alexander Sorloth, playing in place of the injured Haaland, in the 15th minute.
But Metz forward Georges Mikautadze equalised on the hour mark to ensure Georgia did not start their bid to qualify for a first major tournament with a defeat.
“It would have been worse if we had stood here and not created chances. We had some incredible chances today. That’s life,” said Norway coach Stale Solbakken.
World Cup semi-finalists Croatia eased to an impressive win in Turkey to kickstart their Group D campaign after an opening draw with Wales.
Croatia were forced to rely on goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic to deny Turkey’s Cengiz Under and Kerem Akturkoglu early on in Bursa.
Kovacic opened the scoring from close range in the 20th and nabbed the second just before the break with both goals coming from Mario Pasalic assists.
Croatia are level on four points with Wales after Rob Page’s side beat Latvia 1-0 for their first win since the retirement of Gareth Bale.
Striker Kieffer Moore headed home the winning goal for a dominant Wales in the 41st minute.
Switzerland made it two wins from two games in Group I with a comfortable 3-0 success against Israel. Goals from Ruben Vargas, Zeki Amdouni and Silvan Widmer helped the Swiss follow up a 5-0 thrashing of Belarus in style.
Romania also boast a 100 per cent record in the group after edging out Belarus 2-1, while Kosovo have two points from as many matches after a 1-1 draw with Andorra.
Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2023
Dear visitor, the comments section is undergoing an overhaul and will return soon.