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Scotland make winning start
 Women's Football News 25 Oct 2009
 
Scotland make winning start - 25 Oct 2009 - Women's Football NewsGreece 0 Scotland 1 (Beattie 52)
Ten-player Scotland survived a late fightback to pick up three points in their opening Women's World Cup qualifier against Greece in Athens.
 
Scotland enjoyed the bulk of the possession in the second half and it looked as though they would go on to win comfortably after Jennifer Beattie's 52nd minute opener.
 
But the game threatened to boil over as both sides fought for the next goal. Jo Love was red carded in the 79th minute after picking up two yellows inside two minutes, and the home side hit the post with their last kick of the game as Scotland held on for the win.
 
Scotland started brightly, with Kim Little flagged offside three minutes in. The first half was a scrappy affair, with neither side dominating, although the visitors had the best of the chances.
 
Beattie, Little, Love and Hibernian's Kirsty McBride all had opportunities to open the scoring for Scotland. At the other end, Gemma Fay was first called into action in the 32nd minute, but she comfortably saved Anastasia Papadopoulou's shot.
 
Scotland stepped up a gear in the second half, and Little began pulling the strings. She was typically involved in Scotland's 52nd minute goal.
 
McBride released Little on the right and she tore through the Greek defence to whip a cross into the box. Aikaterini Falida initially seemed to have saved Beattie's close range effort, but the ball squeezed under her and into the net.
 
McBride, winning her 50th cap, made way for Suzanne Grant five minutes later. She joined club team mate Pauline Hamill up front as Scotland Coach Anna Signeul pressed players forward. Grant and Hamill began causing the Greek defence all sorts of problems as Scotland fired cross after cross into the box.
 
It looked as though Greece had levelled on 72 minutes. A short pass by Ifeoma Dieke was pounced on by the onrushing Greek forward. The home fans were on their feet as the net bulged, but the ball had squeezed into the side netting.
 
The game threatened to boil over as both sides battled for the next goal. Love and Maria Adamaki were both booked after a spot of off-the-ball jostling in front of the dug outs. Love was heading for the changing room two minutes later when a strong challenge saw her win the ball, but leave Dimitra Panteleiadou writhing on the deck.
 
Greece won a free kick just outside the box in the 93rd minute, and the Scottish contingent in the Akratitos Stadium breathed a sigh of relief when Panteleiadou's shot cracked off the upright and fizzed across the face of goal, just before the referee blew the final whistle. (www.scottishfa.co.uk)
 
Scotland: Gemma Fay, Rhonda Jones, Jennifer Beattie, Ifeoma Dieke, Leanne Ross, Joanne Love, Kirsty McBride (sub Suzanne Grant 58mins), Kim Little, Megan Sneddon, Rachel Corsie, Pauline Hamill (sub Jane Ross 83mins). Subs not used: Jo Hutcheson, Joelle Murray, Amy McDonald, Frankie Brown, Diana Barry.
 
GROUP THREE P W D L F A PTS
DENMARK 2 2 0 0 21 0 6
SCOTLAND 1 1 0 0 1 0 3
GREECE 3 1 0 2 1 7 3
BULGARIA 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
GEORGIA 1 0 0 1 0 15 0


 
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