Spain 1 Scotland 1 (Hope Not Abandoned)

By Meganjack
Last updated : 04 September 2004

The pressure on Berti Vogts has been eased as he prepares for next Wednesday's World Cup qualifying group game against Slovenia thanks to a confidence-boosting result against Spain in Valencia. Although the game lasted less than an hour, after a local power-cut plunged the stadium into darkness, Scotland were at least holding their own. As power could not be restored, the referee made the sensible decision to abandon the game. Scotland had led at half-time, through an own goal from Ruben Baraja, and it took a penalty from Spanish substitute Raul to salvage some pride for the home nation. Scotland had chances in the first half to take the game out of Spain's reach but Vogts was happy with the final outcome as his side showed vast improvement from the shambolic second-half display against Hungary last month.

A swirling wind made it difficult for both sets of players but it was Scotland who harnessed it better. Baraja had a half-chance early on but his shot was blocked and Craig Gordon had a simple job to pick up the loose ball. The Hearts goalkeeper did not have a direct shot to save in a first half which Scotland dominated for long spells. For a friendly game, there were some meaty challenges and Gary Naysmith, Steve Crawford and Nigel Quashie all picked up yellow cards before half-time. Spain were given ample warning that Scotland would not lie down after recent poor results and a curling free-kick out on the left wing from Barry Ferguson deceived Iker Casillas and he was fortunate that Carles Puyol was on the line to hook the ball to safety.

Scotland took a shock lead in the 18th minute courtesy of another free-kick. James McFadden whipped the ball in and the unfortunate Baraja headed the ball through his own goalkeeper's despairing hands. Scotland should have had a more handsome half-time advantage with Steve Crawford squandering two gilt-edged chances. After 28 minutes, Darren Fletcher sent him scampering clear and he had time to pick his shot but drove the ball straight at Casillas. Eight minutes from the break, Crawford crafted a chance for himself as the Spanish defence dallied on the ball but again his finish was tame and Casillas got down smartly to save. Scotland also had a penalty claim turned down when the ball struck Carlos Marchena on the top of his arm but it would have been a soft award. French referee Stephane Bre had to lecture both captains to tell their respective teams to calm down with challenges flying in from both sets of players. Spain improved after the interval and equalised in 57 minutes when Jackie McNamara gave away a penalty when he floored Jose Reyes and substitute Raul sent Gordon the wrong way with the spot-kick. But it was Gordon's indecision at the initial through ball that put the Scots in trouble and let Spain back into the game. The game was then halted after the power cut and, after sending the teams back to the dressing-room for 15 minutes, referee Bre decided to abandon the fixture.


Spain: Casillas, Lopez Rekarte, Del Horno, Marchena, Puyol, Alonso, Joaquin, Baraja, Torres, Reyes, Tamudo
Subs: Canizares, Helguera, Salgado, Romero, Albelda, Raul, Vicente, Morientes, Victor, Valeron, Juanito


Scotland: Gordon, Caldwell, Webster, Mackay, Naysmith, McNamara, Fletcher, Quashie, Ferguson, McFadden, Crawford
Subs: Shearer, Thompson, Miller, Cameron, Dickov, McNamee, Holt, Kyle, Pearson

Referee: Stephane Bre (France)

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