Scotland vs. Wales, 2014 World Cup qualifying: Final score 1-2, Wales mount late comeback to sink Scots

Alex Livesey

Scotland looked to be cruising after Grant Hanley's header settled a nervy start for the hosts, but two late Wales goals left the Tartan Army distraught.

Gordon Strachan suffered defeat in his first competitive match as Scotland manager after he saw his side fall to two late goals after getting themselves in front. Chris Coleman, meanwhile, may have saved his job after pulling out the victory from the jaws of defeat.

The first instance of the match was a blow to Scotland as Steven Fletcher pulled up injured, the Sunderland striker immediately being stretchered off after landing awkwardly on his ankle in a challenge with Ben Davies. Kenny Miller was the somewhat surprising choice of replacement, with Jordan Rhodes left on the bench.

The injury contributed to an incredibly nervy start for the Scots, who could neither keep the ball nor escape their own half as Wales immediately forced a flurry of chances. First Allan McGregor and Grant Hanley's confusion almost led to an own goal, before Hanley then gave the ball away trying to come out of defence, leaving Wales with a 3-on-1 which Craig Bellamy wasted with a soft pass.

Wales were utterly dominant with Scotland displaying a catalogue of misplaced passes, poor touches, and panicky clearances, and Gareth Bale tested McGregor with a long-range effort, but it became apparent that the Tottenham winger was struggling with his injury and could not display his best form.

The hosts began to improve at the end of the half, and caught Wales with a sucker punch right before half-time. Charlie Mulgrew and Chris Burke had already shown signs of their prowess at delivery when getting forward, and the former sent in a fine corner for Grant Hanley to atone for his earlier errors, heading powerfully past Boaz Myhill to put the Scots in front as the half-time whistle blew.

The goal appeared to have calmed Scotland, who were dominant after half-time and went close to doubling their lead twice, first as Chris Burke fired over during a goalmouth scramble, before the Wales defence retreated ever deeper and allowed Robert Snodgrass to unleash a left-footed shot which cannoned back off the post.

Yet with Scotland seemingly comfortable, things were about to go pear-shaped. Chris Gunter's run into the box was tracked by Snodgrass, and the Norwich winger gave away a penalty and duly got himself sent off in bringing the fullback down. Aaron Ramsey stepped up to smash the penalty home and things were now looking bleak for the Scots.

There was barely time to blink before the hosts found themselves behind, Hal Robson-Kanu heading powerfull past McGregor from Andy King's cross. Scotland's attempts to claw something back were stymied by their numerical disadvantage, although Charlie Adam did have a goalbound effort blocked late on. The introduction of Rhodes was too little, too late, and despite Aaron Ramsey also seeing red in the dying minutes for a foul outside the box, Wales claimed the victory that will leave Scotland with much to ponder.

Follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter | Like SB Nation Soccer on Facebook

More in Soccer:

Covering all of UEFA’s World Cup Qualifying action

USMNT needs a win

Argentina without stars in CONMEBOL qualifying

Setting aside reality: A Yugoslav dream team

Atleti vs. Real: The most important race for second place

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.