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Cuthbert super strike not quite enough

Belgium 1 (Detruyer 31)

Scotland 1 (Cuthbert 34)

Scotland will finish in the relegation place in their UEFA Women’s Nations League group despite battling to a credible draw in Leuven, given to them by a superb goal from Erin Cuthbert.

Scotland Head Coach Pedro Martinez Losa made two changes from the side who lost narrowly to Netherlands last time out. Rachel Corsie - who started in midfield in that match - reverted back to her usual centre-back position, as Sophie Howard made way and Sam Kerr returned from injury into central midfield. Martha Thomas also returned the starting line up in place of Kirsty Hanson.

It had been an improved performance from the Scots against the Netherlands and they began brightly in Leuven, enjoying most of the possession in the early stages. Fiona Brown then had the first chance of the game in the seventh minute as her ball was clawed away by Belgium Nicky Evrard as it threatened to creep in at the near post.

Belgium's first chance came just after a quarter of an hour as Tessa Wullaert curled a right-footed effort narrowly wide of the far corner.

Scotland responded well though and passed up a great chance on 20 minutes. Claire Emslie cut the ball back invitingly for Erin Cuthbert but she was put under pressure and was only able to sidefoot straight at Evrard.

Scotland continued to threat the Belgian box but it was the hosts who took the lead against the run of play on the half hour mark. They worked it neatly out wide, allowing Wullaert to cut the ball back for Marie Detruyer who sidefooted the ball into the corner to make it 1-0.

But Scotland hit back in emphatic fashion, equalising within three minutes. Cuthbert had been Scotland's stand out performer in the first half and she brought the scores level, striking an unstoppable effort high into the centre of the goal from fully 25 yards.

After a fairly even end to the first half, Scotland were inches away from taking the lead in the 51st minute. Cuthbert was involved again as her corner was flicked on by Fiona Brown to Jenna Clark who nodded just wide from six yards out. Emslie then came close moments later as she ran onto Lisa Evans' lay off and curled a shot just wide of the left hand post from just inside the box.

The dangerous Wullaert offered a reminder of the home side's threat, producing a low stop from Sandy MacIver before seeing another powerful effort blocked.

Martinez Losa made two changes on the hour mark, introducing Abi Harrison and Kirsty Hanson for Thomas and Emslie. It was Harrison who almost made the instant impact, volleying over at the far post after a free kick was only partially cleared.

Amy Gallacher was introduced for Brown as Scotland pushed for a winner and - like Harriso - she was presented with a chance almost straight away. Hanson's fizzing low cross found the striker free at the back post but she could only stab wide. Hayley Lauder also came on with 20 minutes remaining as she returned to the national fold.

Both sides pushed for a winner but the teams could not be separated as the match ended 1-1 behind the sides for the second time in this campaign.

Despite producing an impressive performance in Leuven, a draw was not enough to prevent Scotland from suffering elimination to League B in the UEFA Women's Nations League.

Belgium: Nicky Evrard, Janice Cayman, Amber Tysiak, Tine De Caigny, Sari Kees, Laura Deloose, Justine Vanhaevermaet, Marie Detruyer (sub Feli Delacauw 69mins), Kassandra Missipo, Jassina Blom (sub Jill Janssens 69mins), Tessa Wullaert. Subs not used: Diede Lemey, Lisa Lichtfus, Davina Philtjens, Shari Van Belle, Sarah Wijnants, Isabelle Iliano, Yana Daniels, Jody Vangheluwe, Amy Littel.

Scotland: Sandy MacIver, Fiona Brown (sub Amy Gallacher 69mins), Nicola Docherty, Rachel Corsie, Jenna Clark, Erin Cuthbert, Claire Emslie (sub Kirsty Hanson 58mins), Samantha Kerr, Martha Thomas (sub Abi Harrison 58mins), Kirsty MacLean (sub Hayley Lauder 69mins), Lisa Evans (sub Lauren Davidson 81mins). Subs not used: Lee Gibson, Emma Mukandi, Sophie Howard, Jenna Fife, Rachel McLauchlan, Amy Rodgers, Jamie Lee Napier.


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