Scotland stun Spain thanks to McTominay double
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GLASGOW, Scotland, March 28 (Reuters) – Scotland’s Scott McTominay grabbed another brace of goals as they stunned a much-changed Spain side to earn a deserved 2-0 victory in their Euro 2024 qualifier at Hampden Park on Tuesday and maintain their perfect start to the campaign.
The win was a first for the Scots over their Iberian opponents since 1984 and ensured they top Group A on six points from two games, while second-placed Spain have three.
It was a first defeat for Spain in a Euro qualifier since a loss in Slovakia in 2014 and they had won 17 of their 19 fixtures since then.
McTominay also scored twice off the bench in a 3-0 win over Cyprus on Saturday and was the catalyst for what will go down as a famous win and further entrench manager Steve Clarke’s view that they are a team very much on the up.
“We did really, really well,” McTominay told Viaplay. “We knew they’d have lots of the ball, and the manager said be clinical when we had the opportunities.
“Everyone was at it, diving around, making the game slow. It’s difficult, but sometimes that’s the way it’s got to be. When you’re winning you’ve got to do stuff like that.
“The manager said this is our chance to create legacies as Scotland players and these are the nights in 20, 30 years that people remember.”
New Spain coach Luis de la Fuente made eight changes from the side that beat Norway 3-0 in Malaga at the weekend and it showed as they battled to get any sustained momentum in the game as their hosts harried and pressed them into numerous errors.
McTominay profited from a Pedro Porro slip to score his first goal, as Andy Robertson picked up possession in the box and played the ball into his path, and then got on the end of an excellent run and cross from Kieran Tierney for number two.
De la Fuente handed a first start to 33-year-old striker Joselu and he hit the crossbar with a header midway through the opening period on a frustrating night for the visitors when tempers at times threatened to boil over.
Scotland might have had a third goal had Lyndon Dykes not scooped his shot over the bar with just goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to beat. Ryan Christie also fired wide when well placed in the first half.
The home side’s pressing was excellent, forcing Spain into errors as the visitors seemed determined to pass their way out of trouble but only sank deeper into it.
“It is clear that they played a good game. We have no excuses,” Spain midfielder Rodri told Teledeporte. “We had chances, but have to be more effective.
“(There are) no doubts, none at all. We don’t want to start talking about doubts.
“Obviously in football the score counts, but there have been specific errors that have cost us. Here we all lose, it’s a collective effort.”
Third-placed Norway drew 1-1 away to Georgia, who were playing their opener, in Tuesday’s other Group A game, with both teams on one point ahead of Cyprus who have no points. (Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris)