Monday, November 20, 2017

Scotland 0 Netherlands 1: Memphis the difference in Aberdeen

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 Nov 2017

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Scotland lost for the first time in nine home internationals as their World Cup qualifying disappointment extended to 1-0 friendly defeat against Netherlands on Thursday.

Memphis Depay’s first-half goal decided a subdued contest between two sides waiting for new eras to begin after missing out on Russia 2018.

Dick Advocaat had already announced his intention to step down following Netherlands’ friendlies this month, while Scotland’s interim manager Malky Mackay is not in contention to fill the permanent position vacated by Gordon Strachan last month.

And the uncertainty resulted in an uninspiring first 45 minutes, with any Scotland excitement around debutants Ryan Jack, Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie, who were later joined by another newcomer in substitute Jason Cummings, subdued by Depay’s close-range opener in the 40th minute.

Celtic star Kieran Tierney, captaining his country for the first time, earlier went close with a fine long-range attempt and substitute Ryan Fraser stabbed wide after half-time.

Those half-chances proved to be the best a toothless Scotland had to offer, though, as Mackay’s likely one-match stint in charge ended in a fourth consecutive defeat to the Oranje.

Scotland threatened first and could have opened the scoring inside eight minutes, but Daley Blind and Nathan Ake produced important blocks to deny Matt Phillips and James Forrest respectively.

Phillips came even closer when he got on the end of a long ball and held off Virgil van Dijk in the penalty area, only to hit his shot on the turn straight at Craig Gordon.

The hosts remained the more positive in possession for much of the first half, although their lack of a recognised centre-forward meant Netherlands largely went untroubled.

Tierney’s swerving attempt from range did force Jasper Cillessen to move quickly to his right in the 36th minute, but it was the breakdown of another Scotland attack which exposed them for the opener.

Georginio Wijnaldum led a counter-attack and fed a pass to Ryan Babel, whose classy cross from the right was volleyed in at point-blank range by Memphis.

Advocaat’s side almost brought about their own downfall 10 minutes after the restart as Cillessen invited pressure in dallying over a Van Dijk back-pass.

Scotland again lacked the killer edge to turn the opening into a goal and soon resorted again to shooting from well outside the area, John McGinn stinging the palms of the Barcelona goalkeeper.

Bournemouth winger Fraser provided some life off the bench with an enterprising dribble into the area which ended in a poked finish around the post.

And that proved to be the final moment of excitement at either end as Netherlands, who meet Romania in Bucharest on Tuesday, cruised to a ninth clean sheet in 11 meetings with Scotland.

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