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Scotland edged out by Italy
 Women's Football News 5 Mar 2012
 
Italy 2 (Guagni 43, Gabbiadini 69) Scotland 1 (L.Ross 67)
Defensive injuries caught up with Scotland as they lost their final Cyprus Women's Cup group game to Italy at the GSZ Stadium in Larnaca. 
 
Central defender Ifeoma Dieke will take no further part in the tournament, having been taken to hospital for an x-ray on her injured ankle after the final whistle. The Scots must now hope that she recovers in time for the upcoming Euro 2013 qualifiers against France and Ireland.
 
"We played another good first half and should have been leading at half time," said Scotland coach Anna Signeul, "but then we collapsed a bit. Italy are very experienced and they took the right decisions whereas today our decision making let us down at times."
 
With goalkeeper Shannon Lynn picking up an arm injury in the previous game against Holland, captain Gemma Fay was restored to the side. Signeul made another change in defence, resting Rachel Corsie, who had an ankle operation in the winter, rather than expose her to a third game in five days.
 
Jane Ross had two early attempts for the Scots, forcing an early save from Italian goalkeeper Arianna Criscione after being released by Megan Sneddon, and then lobbing the ball over the bar after Emma Fernon superbly moved the ball from defence to attack.
 
In between these attempts Fay had to make a save from Melania Gabbiadini, but the white shirted Scots should have gone ahead through Jennifer Beattie after 19 minutes. The striker did well to dispossess Roberta D'Adda and was left one to one with Criscione but the keeper made a good block and Beattie sent the rebound past the post.
 
Italy responsed strongly with 37-year-old striker and captain Patrizia Penzo twice coming close with attempts which just missed the target. Then, in their best move of the first half, Scotland again could have taken the lead when Jane Ross and Hayley Lauder set Kim Little up. The midfielder released a great shot which Criscione again did well to tip over the bar for a corner.
 
It looked as if the sides would go into half time level, but Italy went ahead in the 43rd minute. They had been asking Scotland questions down the right throughout the half, and this time full back Alia Guagni ran into the box and and slipped the ball past Fay for a well taken goal.
 
The second half started with Dieke's injury, and although she continued after a lengthy hold up, it was only for another few minutes. Frankie Brown came on, forcing yet another reshuffle in the Scotland defence.
 
The Italians dominated the opening 20 minutes of the half, but Scotland equalised with a great goal. Beattie and Jane Ross combined well to force a corner, which Little took on the left. The ball was cleared only as far as substitute Leanne Ross and she beat Criscione with a superb strike from the edge of the area.
 
The lead only lasted two minutes, and might have been avoided had Corsie and Dieke been available. The lack of height at the centre of defence enabled Gabbiadini to get on the end of a high ball into the Scotland box and she directed the ball past Fay.
 
Signeul's side finished the half strongly, and Leanne Ross fired in a well struck free kick near the end, but Italy held out for their first win in the group.
 
Scotland: Gemma Fay, Rachael Small, Rhonda Jones, Ifeoma Dieke (sub Frankie Brown 59mins), Emma Fernon, Joanne Love, Kim Little, Megan Sneddon (sub Leanne Ross 57mins), Hayley Lauder (sub Lisa Evans 52mins), Jennifer Beattie (sub Suzanne Grant 70mins), Jane Ross (sub Emma Mitchell 87mins)

(www.scottishfa.co.uk)


 
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