Spain avenged its 2-0 loss against Scotland earlier in Euro 2024 qualifying with a win by the same scoreline on Thursday evening. Visiting Scotland had the chance to secure a place in the tournament proper with a draw. Despite a resolute defense and a ruled-out goal, Spain’s ball control was too much for Scotland.
Alvaro Morata scored the game-winning goal before a Scotland own goal sealed the deal in Sevilla. This was Scotland’s first loss in Euro 2024 qualifying, and it remains in a strong position to reach the tournament. Spain retains a game in hand on both Scotland and a trailing Norway in third place. Spain plays Norway later in the October international break. Both Scotland and Spain can lock up a spot in Euro 2024 with a Spain win in that game.
Stalemate in the first half
The first major chance of the game fell to the Spanish. Alvaro Morata played Ferran Torres through, and the Barcelona winger was alone against Angus Gunn in the Scotland net. Torres took one touch before his shot that he pulled wide of Gunn’s net. Just three minutes later, three Spain players missed headers on a corner that blazed across the face of the Scotland net. Based on the first five minutes, the pitch tilted comfortably in favor of the home Spanish side.
Scotland survived another Spanish push in the 34th minute. The visitors failed to properly clear a Spanish cross, and the ball fell to Mikel Merino. The midfielder wonderfully hit the ball on the half-volley. However, the ball hit the inside of the post and slid across the goal line behind Gunn.
Spain finally had the ball in the net just four minutes later. Alvaro Morata was at the end of a cross from the right side. However, the Atletico Madrid striker was offside at the time of the cross. Referees quickly blew the play dead, and there was never any celebration for a goal.
Two second-half goals see Spain to victory over Scotland
Spain retained the majority share of the ball. However, Scotland’s best attempt of the game came in the 52nd minute. Even then, it was not a great opportunity. Ryan Christie failed to maintain a pass, and the ball squirmed to Unai Simon in the Spain net.
Six minutes later, Scotland had a free kick next to the goal line and just outside the 18-yard box. Scott McTominay, who scored a brace against Scotland in Glasgow, whipped the ball into the top right corner to perfection. However, VAR ruled out the ball for contact with Simon during the shot. While there was contact, it was minimal, and arguably harsh against Scotland.
The ruled-out goal inspired Spain to press forward after a sluggish start to the second half. It was Alvaro Morata who scored the game’s opening goal in the 74th minute. Second-half substitute Jesus Navas picked out Morata, who made a perfect run to the six-yard box. His glancing header gave Spain the lead much to the chagrin of the Scotland faithful.
Scotland’s attempts to find an equalizer left gaps at the back. Sloppy play from the Scots allowed Spain to pounce and force a goal. Scotland left-back Aaron Hickey slipped with minimal pressure. Joselu picked the ball up and squared it to Oihan Sancet. The Spaniard grabbed his first international goal as he bundled the ball over the line.
Spain was unable to grab a third and grab the better head-to-head goal differential against Scotland.
PHOTO: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
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