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Scotland 3-1 Switzerland: U-17s book place in semis

Scotland's Craig Wighton (9) wheels away to celebrate after scoring. Picture: SNS

Scotland's Craig Wighton (9) wheels away to celebrate after scoring. Picture: SNS

  • by CRAIG P STEWART
 

A BLISTERING second-half performance from Scotland under-17s in the heat of Malta was enough for them to see off Switzerland 3-1 and qualify for a semi-final Uefa Finals showdown against the Netherlands.

Scorers: Scotland - Wighton (45), Sheppard (56), Hardie (63); Switzerland - Oberlin (20)

The Scots had been outplayed in the first half and were a shade lucky only to be a goal down, however a couple of substitutions from head coach Scot Gemmill turned the game at the Hibernians Stadium.

Scotland were buoyant after beating Germany on Monday but it was the Swiss, who needed a win to qualify out of the four-team group, who started in more determined fashion.

Aidan Nesbitt almost sliced the ball into his own net after a lighting break on six minutes and from the resulting corner goalkeeper Robbie McCrorie made a fine one-handed save when he turned away a curling effort from Alban Selmanaj.

McCrorie was the hero again on ten minutes when he raced from goal to block an effort from Dimitri Oberlin and then excelled once more when he kept out a Albian Ajeti header.

Something had to give and when Swiss skipper Mirlind Kryeziu released Oberlin with a 30-yard pass on 20 minutes he lashed home from eight yards.

A water break was taken at this time and that helped Scotland with Scott Wright and then Calvin Miller having their side’s first efforts on goal before the break.

Craig Wighton and Ryan Hardie were brought on at half-time in a bid to pep up the Scottish attack and the move worked just five minutes after the restart.

Wighton pounced on a loose ball and sent a low shot home through a sea of defenders after Wright’s trickery had caused panic in Switzerland’s defence.

The young Scots grabbed a second goal on 56 minutes with a well worked move. Wighton crossed to the back post where Hardie headed the ball back across goal and Jake Sheppard finished from six yards.

A place against the Dutch was assured seven minutes later. Nesbitt picked out Hardie with a chipped pass and he controlled the ball on his chest before hooking home.

McCrorie was again the hero when he saved a penalty from Boris Babic on 72 minutes after Zak Jules was adjudged to have fouled Oberlin.

Scotland: McCrorie, Wardrop, Breslin, Cameron, Thomson, Nesbitt, Wright (Kelly 79), Miller (Wighton 41), Jules, Ballantyne (Hardie 41), Sheppard. Subs not used: Devlin, Lang, Boyd, McIlduff.

Switzerland: Kobel, Bajrami, Schattin, Selmanaj (Huser 77), Kryezui, Arnold, Cani (Kutesa), Sow, Al Ajeti, Oberlin, Altsoy (Babic). Subs not used: Mujovic, Alves, Loosli, Ruegg.

Referee: A Aghayev.

 

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