Albania 0 -5 Scotland: Easy victory for Scots in Euro qualifier
Scotland made it two wins from two in Euro qualifying against an Albanian side which, if anything, posed even less of a threat than Cyprus, whom Shelley Kerr’s side had beaten 8-0 at Easter Road.
The head coach gave first caps to 22-year-old Tottenham Hotspur central defender Hannah Godfrey and Manchester United forward Kirsty Hanson, who is a year younger. Neither was in the original squad but were called in because of injuries, Godfrey even getting her name on the scoresheet.
“Credit to the newbies who came in,” Kerr said. “I thought Kirsty and Hannah coped with it really well.
“I don’t think we played particularly well in the first half – we were too laboured on the ball and didn’t move it quickly enough – but we’ve struggled away from home in the past. Overall it was really pleasing because it’s never an easy place to come to and it was much better in the second half.”
Arsenal left-back Emma Mitchell returned for the first time since Scotland qualified for the World Cup against the same opposition 14 months ago – but her clubmates Jen Beattie and Kim Little, who both travelled, were left out because of injury niggles.
The tone for the game was set in the opening 15 minutes when Scotland created four very good chances and scored with the last of them. Hanson, playing wide on the right, was prominent, setting up Jane Ross with the first opportunity and later forcing a good save from Albanian keeper Viona Rexhepi.
Caroline Weir blasted a poor effort high over the bar from the edge of the box, but the visitors got the goal they deserved five minutes later. Again it was a cross by Hanson which Ross touched on with her head and Claire Emslie, pictured, shot home at the far post.
The second goal came midway through the half. A long-range shot by Leanne Crichton was spilled by Rexhepi and Ross was left with a simple task to tap home. It was Scotland goal No 60 for the Manchester United striker and put her one ahead of Little as the top scorer in the current squad.
The half-time score did not reflect Scotland’s dominance, but Erin Cuthbert made it three just before the hour. The Chelsea player took advantage of an Evans cutback to score from just inside the box.
Cuthbert set up Godfrey to score on her debut five minutes later, the defender forcing the ball over the line at the third attempt.
The fifth goal was very similar to the third, Evans again cutting the ball back from near the bye-line. This time she picked out substitute Christie Murray, whose finish was perfectly judged.