Scotland women beaten 3-0 by Norway in friendly in La Manga

By Andrew SouthwickBBC Scotland in La Manga
Stand-in captain Jo Love fires in a shot for Scotland women against Norway
Scotland women suffered a disappointing outing in Jo Love's first game as stand-in captain

Scotland women were beaten for the first time under head coach Shelley Kerr as they lost 3-0 to Norway in the first of two friendlies in Spain.

Isabell Herlovsen twice took advantage of poor defending to give Norway a comfortable half-time lead in La Manga.

Maria Thorisdottir headed in a third as Norway threatened to run riot.

Scotland battled hard to keep the score down and Claire Emslie and Caroline Weir could have grabbed a consolation goal, but even that proved elusive.

It was a frustrating 90 minutes for Kerr, whose side face Russia in another friendly in nearby San Pedro del Pinatar on Monday, as they continue to prepare for their next two 2019 World Cup qualifiers against Switzerland and Poland in April.

Scotland had started well, passing the ball confidently and Emslie tested goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth after cutting in from the right wing.

But it all went wrong after 12 minutes.

Herlovsen was given too much time and space to find the bottom corner from inside the box.

Jane Ross could not get a good touch on Lisa Evans' cross as Scotland briefly went forward, before the Norwegians began to show more of what they could do.

Caroline Graham Hansen twice fired over, Guro Reiten forced a great save from Scotland keeper Lee Alexander from the edge of the box, before last-ditch defending from Frankie Brown and Jennifer Beattie denied Norway from close range.

The second duly arrived though after Erin Cuthbert's clearance was charged down, leaving Herlovsen with a simple finish past goalkeeper Lee Alexander.

Hansen had tormented Scotland for 35 minutes, so when she hobbled off injured it offered Kerr's side some respite.

And they ended the half with a flurry. Emslie's shot was cut out, then a corner caused havoc but no-one in a Scotland shirt could fire in a meaningful effort.

Beattie sliced Ingrid Moe Wold's cross over, but it merely delayed the third by seconds as Thorisdottir headed the corner in off the post.

Emslie continued to be Scotland's main threat on the wing, and her cross fell to stand-in captain Jo Love, but her shot lacked power.

Weir pulled an effort wide before Emslie's powerful shot from distance was pushed past the post.

Substitute Synne Skinnes Hansen felt she should have had a late penalty after Beattie shrugged her off in the box, but it looked like the referee made the right call in playing on.

Post-match reaction:

Scotland head coach Shelley Kerr: "We got off to a good start in the game, but the two goals we conceded in the first half were poor from our point of view.

"I thought there were a lot of positives for us. Typically against higher-ranked nations we've not been able to create many chances; we did that in spells today.

"The disappointing thing was how easily they came through us in the midfield.

"This week was about playing two difficult opponents and we want to learn from it because we want to improve and get better.

"I thought Sophie Howard was excellent in her first start. We've made five changes from the Albania game, we've given players opportunities and minutes and that's what this week is all about."

Norway: Hjelmseth, Moe Wold, Thorisdottir, Mjelde, Gaustad, Herlovsen, Caroline Graham Hansen, Reiten, Minde, Maanum, Isaksen.

Substitutes: Fiskerstrand, Spord, Synne Skinnes Hansen, Leine, Haavi, Pederson, Jensen, Naalsund, Ryland

Scotland: Alexander, Brown, Mitchell, Beattie, Love, Cuthbert, Crichton, Evans, Ross, Howard, Emslie.

Substitutes: Fife, Weir, Smith, Small, McLaughlin, Murray

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