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Goal-shy Scotland miss out on Nations League promotion

Netanya (Israel) (AFP) – Scotland wasted the chance to add Nations League promotion to qualifying for their first major tournament since 1998 after falling to a 1-0 defeat in Israel.

Manor Solomon scored the only goal as a second consecutive defeat for Scotland saw Czech Republic take top spot in Group B2 thanks to a 2-0 win over Slovakia.

Steve Clarke’s men were hailed national heroes after beating Serbia on penalties last week, but a lack of goals remains a concern looking ahead to World Cup qualifiers in March and Euro 2020.

Scotland have now scored just three goals in their last six games.

The visitors had plenty of chances in Netanya as Stephen O’Donnell dragged wide when unmarked inside the area before John McGinn’s header was brilliantly saved by Ofir Marciano.

Israel were beaten on penalties at Hampden Park in the Euro 2020 playoff semi-final last month after neither side could score in 120 minutes.

But they produced the one clear moment of quality in front of goal when Solomon turned Scott McTominay with ease before firing across David Marshall into the far corner just before half-time.

Scotland probed forlornly for an equaliser after the break but Marciano repelled another O’Donnell effort and substitute Leigh Griffiths’s fierce stoppage time free-kick to ensure Israel avoided relegation to League C.

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