Scotland continued to struggle with their end product when they clashed with Russia in a pre-season friendly, neither nation able to break the deadlock in sunny Spain.
Scots continue to struggle in front of goal
The first real chance of the match came five minutes in when Caroline Weir’s whipped free kick curled over the wall and just the wrong side of Tatiana Shcherbak’s near post, the Scots shading the early possession.
The Russians pushed back against their British opposition and found little in the way of leg-room, the away side doing their best to string passes together and keep the ball in the attacking half. Despite having the better of it, the best Scotland could muster was a shot from Hayley Lauder just inside the box after some clean footwork, the ball sliding over the bar on the way out.
The Russians remained frustrated, not as crisp with their passing or movement, their attacks were laborious. A hopeful punt from 35-yards by Elena Danilova and a loud groan from the attacker as the ball dropped into Shannon Lynn’s open gloves the best they could muster in the first twenty minutes.
Another chance from a deadball went begging when Weir zipped the ball into the mixer and Jane Ross failed to connect, the slightest of touch bound to redirect the ball just inside of the far post. At the other end of the pitch, those in red moved forwards with more numbers, capitalising on an errant touch from Fiona Brown, Jennifer Beattie in the right place to mop up the danger.
Determined work by Maria Galay saw the attacker come away with the ball, much to Rachel McLauchlan’s dismay, the hosts linking well as the ball moved from Galay to Margarita Chernomyrdina and on to Marina Fedorova via Danilova.
The Scots retreated, but couldn’t stop Fedorova from cutting a patch of space before firing low into Lynn’s grateful grasp. A snap shot from Weir the best chance of the half, her lashed a certain goal had Irina Podshibyakina not gotten in the way, the defender requiring treatment for her troubles.
Despite having the better of it with the ball on the ground, Scotland still struggled from open play, Ross’ glancing header from a neat Christie Murray cross just before the break another chance not taken.
The start of the second half wielded no surprises, both teams blunted in the final third, Brown’s nippy run into the box the best chance of the opening exchanges, her weak lay-off to space a waste of a chance.
Much like their game against Norway the match lacked fluidity and rhythm, the better ideas coming from Scotland though it was easy to see the team were far from the finish product they wanted or needed to be. The game ticked beyond the hour and the deadlock remained, the two teams doing little on the pitch to suggest there was a goal coming.
A handful of changes for both helped to refresh the legs on a balmy day but the issues remained for both sides, Russia saw more of the ball but continued to be short on ideas of what to do with it. Scotland utilised their substitutes to add a touch more pace, both Claire Emslie on the right and Chloe Arthur on the left offering more of a burst on the offensive. But still those in blue struggled to turn their ideas into a solid product, the ability to put the ball in the back of the net still eluding them as the match ticked into its last ten minutes.
Shcherbak was called back into action to tip a flick from Murray around the post before Albi Harrison sent her low effort just wide of the far post, the Scots still looking to take something from the game. A mazy run from Emslie almost the tonic the visitors needed two minutes from time, her effort whizzed through the box and bounced against Shcherbak’s gloves, Murray too on her heels to react fast enough and turn home the rebound.
Another intervention from Emslie brought about another chance, the Man City woman eager to impress as she danced around the tired Russian defence, her ball in just ahead of Arthur who couldn’t connect in time. A draw a fair result for the two sides who failed to carve out any solid chances.