Brazil did not prove a hard nut to crack as Scotland strolled to another 7-0 win in the second pool match of the World League in Rio de Janeiro, a result that leaves Gordon Shepherd’s charges in pole position on goal difference from the United States and Chile.
Scotland had beaten Trinidad & Tobago 7-0 in their opening match and last night their first-half display was an eclectic mix of constant pressure, some lacklustre play, a series of missed chances, including only a single goal from 12 penalty corners, and only two goals to show for the entire scenario, much to the frustration of Shepherd.
At the second penalty corner Nikki Kidd’s initial shot was blocked but Catriona Ralph’s follow-up effort was considered dangerous. However, the opening goal came in eight minutes, when the ever-dangerous Ali Bell created the opening down the right and slipped the ball to Vikki Bunce, who fired a low shot under the goalkeeper.
There followed wave after wave of Scottish attacks but very few actual shots at goal. In 15 minutes the Scots should have been two up, when a move involving Bell and Nikki Lloyd saw the ball slipped to Holly Cram, who contrived to miss the goal when it seemed easier to score. There followed a series of wasted penalty corners. Kidd’s effort was well saved by the goalkeeper and then Susan McGilveray’s reverse stick effort was mysteriously disallowed by the umpire.
With six minutes left in the first half the Scots finally made their second breakthrough at a set piece when Kareena Marshall’s shot at goal was brilliantly deflected into the roof of the net by Linda Clement. Scotland then had four late penalty corners, but failed to add to their lead before the interval.
The goals flowed in the second half as the Brazilians visibly tired. A penetrating move up the left by Ailsa Wyllie fed the ball to Sam Judge who unselfishly rolled the ball on to Bunce, and she had the easy task of slotting the ball into the net for 3-0. Three minutes later came the fourth from a direct strike at a penalty corner by Aileen Davis.
The avalanche continued when a Kidd cross from the left was deflected home by Holly Cram for 5-0. Clement might have got another but her outstretched stick just missed the cross from Ralph.
However, the sixth was only delayed a few minutes, Bell collecting a misplaced pass out of defence and passing it on to Clement, who rolled the ball into the net. The final strike was a team effort involving McGilveray, Ralph and Bunce, leaving Bell to slot the ball home for the seventh.
Scotland’s next outing today is the big one against the United States, ranked 10th in the world, and this result will go a long way to deciding if Gordon Shepherd’s charges are to finish in a top two place and thereby qualify for round three of the World League.
In the earlier games, favourites USA again struggled to break through resolute defending but eventually came out 3-0 winners over a spirited Uruguay side. In the second pool match Chile also retained their perfect record with a comfortable 6-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago.