Scotland clinched their spot in the 2022 World Cup play-offs as a comfortable 2-0 win away to Moldova made sure of second place in Group F.
The away side started on the front foot and looked to have taken the lead after only a few minutes when Che Adams found the back of the net. However, the Southampton striker was adjudged to have been offside after a VAR check.
The breakthrough came after 38 minutes when Nathan Patterson guided a left-footed finish into the far corner of the net following good exchange play with John McGinn.
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McGinn and Patterson linked up again for the second Scotland goal, with the latter driving to the by-line before squaring for Adams who had the simple task of finishing from a few yards out.
Moldova were given a lifeline when Patterson was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the box, only for Craig Gordon to save the penalty kick and maintain his side’s two-goal cushion as Scotland closed it out.
TALKING POINT - Scotland prepared for tension, but this was comfortable
These matches are never easy for Scotland. Indeed, if there’s a national team with a track record of dropping points against teams they should sweep aside, it’s Scotland. However, this team is different to the ones that have caused such pain and anguish for the country in the past. With the exception of a late Moldova penalty that was saved anyway, this was comfortable for Scotland. This was yet more proof of the progress they are making under Steve Clarke.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Billy Gilmour (Scotland)
Patterson might have been the Man of the Match had he not conceded a late penalty, with the Rangers right back involved in both goals, but Billy Gilmour deserves recognition for the way he controlled things for Scotland in the centre of the pitch. The 20-year-old is such an important figure for Clarke’s team which makes all the more remarkable that he hasn’t played a single minute of football on loan at Norwich City since the last international break.
Moldova - Namasco 7, Jordan 5, Posmac 4, Bolohan 5, Revenco 5, Dros 5, Ionita 8, Rata 4, Marandici 4, Ginsari 5, Nicolaescu 4. Subs - Cojocaru 5, Rozgoniuc 4, Bogaciuc 4.
Scotland - Gordon 8, Cooper 7, Hendry 7, Tierney 8, Patterson 8, Gilmour 9 McGregor 7, McGinn 8, Robertson 7, Armstrong 7, Adams 8. Subs - Brown 5, McLean 5, Turnbull 2, Nisbet 4.
3’ GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... NO! Adams has the ball in the back of the net, but the flag is raised! The Southampton striker was indeed offside when the pass was played!
18’ ROBERTSON... saved! Great play from the Scotland captain sees him break into the Moldova penalty area, he takes on the shot, but the save is made by Namasco! That was a chance!
38’ GOAL! Moldova 0-1 Scotland: The breakthrough! Brilliant goal by Scotland! They have the crucial lead! Patterson played a one-two with McGinn, burst into space and found the far corner of the Moldova net with a driven left-footed finish! Very nice goal from the away side!
65’ GOAL! Moldova 0-2 Scotland: A second goal! Patterson does so well again! This time the right back turns provider! He drives down the right side, gets to the byline and squares the pass for Adam who had the simple task of finishing into the gaping net from a few yards out!
71’ Off the line! A corner kick from Gilmour caused mayhem inside the Moldova penalty area, the goalkeeper was down on the ground, but Cooper's header is cleared off the line!
74’ GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... NO! McGregor's shot is saved, but Adams is on the case to finish! The Scotland forward was clearly in an offside position, though.
82’ PENALTY KICK TO MOLDOVA! The referee points to the spot after a handball by Patterson! Moldova have a lifeline!
83’ PENALTY SAVED! Gordon saves from the spot! Not only that, Tierney gets back to prevent the rebound from being converted! Scotland still have their two-goal advantage!
Scotland have now won five consecutive World Cup qualifiers and have finished second in a qualification group for the first time since 1998.
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