McTominay scores twice again, Scotland defeats Spain 2-0
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — With another brace by Scott McTominay, Scotland earned its first win against Spain in nearly four decades.
McTominay continued his good scoring form by netting twice for the second straight game to give the hosts a surprising 2-0 win over Spain on Tuesday in qualifying for the 2024 European Championship.
The Manchester United midfielder found the net once in each half to help Scotland defeat La Roja for the first time since a 3-1 win in World Cup qualifying in 1984.
“The manager (Steve Clarke) said this is our chance to create legacies as Scotland players and these are the nights in 20, 30 years that people remember,” McTominay said. “We did really, really well. We knew they’d have lots of the ball and the manager said to be clinical when we had the opportunities.”
The result also extended Scotland’s unbeaten streak in European qualifying to seven games and handed it the early lead in Group A with six points from two matches, three more than Spain.
Spain had not been beaten in Euro qualifying in 20 matches since 2014, when it lost 2-1 at Slovakia ahead of the 2016 tournament in France. La Roja had won 34 of its last 38 European qualifying matches, with three draws.
“It was a tough night for us,” Spain midfielder Mikel Merino said. “We couldn’t take advantage of our chances and they got the goals in transitions.”
It was an eighth win for Scotland in its last 10 home matches, with a draw and a loss.
After opening qualifying with a 3-0 win over Norway, Spain dominated possession but wasn’t able to threaten much at a loud Hampden Park. McTominay opened the scoring in the seventh minute with a shot from inside the area after Spain right back Pedro Porro slipped and lost possession just outside the box. The Man United player then sealed the victory with a 51st-minute volley after Spanish defenders failed to clear a cross in front of the net.
McTominay had not started in Scotland’s 3-0 win over Cyprus on Saturday but came off the bench to score two late goals.
Norway drew 1-1 at Georgia in the other Group A match.
It was a disappointing second game for Spain under coach Luis de La Fuente, who replaced Luis Enrique after the World Cup in Qatar last year. He made eight changes to the squad that defeated Norway at home. Spain had also struggled in that match, needing two late goals by substitute Joselu to secure the victory. Joselu was among those earning a starting spot on Tuesday, as was Osasuna defender David García who made his debut for the national team.
Joselu had one of the best chances for Spain, hitting the crossbar with a header in the first half.
“It was a very complicated and complex match due to the characteristics of our opponents,” said De la Fuente, who was already receiving criticism back home. “We generated chances but two small details cost us.”
Scotland visits Norway in the next round in June. Spain’s next qualifying match isn’t until September, when it visits Georgia. La Roja will play Italy in the semifinals of the Nations League in June. ___
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