Signeul rues late penalty call as Spain hold Scotland

20/10/12 UEFA WOMENS EURO 2013 PLAY-OFF 1ST LEG'SCOTLAND v SPAIN'HAMPDEN - GLASGOW'Scotland's Kim Little (right) celebrates her opening goal
20/10/12 UEFA WOMENS EURO 2013 PLAY-OFF 1ST LEG'SCOTLAND v SPAIN'HAMPDEN - GLASGOW'Scotland's Kim Little (right) celebrates her opening goal
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SCOTLAND WOMEN boss Anna Signeul was left to rue referee Esther Staubli’s decision not to award her side a late penalty as the Scots and Spain had to settle for a share of the spoils in the first leg of their UEFA Women’s 2013 play-off.

For Signeul, the 1-1 draw was a missed opportunity ahead of the return match in Madrid on Wednesday.

“I’m not happy with the result because we should’ve won,” said Signeul, knowing her team will face a Spanish side determined to turn up the heat on their opponents in midweek.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t win, although given the way it turned out you could maybe say it was a fair result.

“We had watched Spain on many occasions before and knew how they would play, so there were no surprises.

“We should’ve had a penalty late on. If she sees the first two penalties, why did she not give the third?

“Although, I believe she didn’t see either of the first two and it was her assistants who gave the awards.”

The decision not to give 
Scotland their second penalty of the afternoon following Ruth Garcia’s handball on 76 minutes would prove the biggest talking point post-match following a pulsating afternoon at Hampden.

Spain had threatened to overrun the hosts early on and dominated possession with Jennifer Hermoso twice going close in the opening ten minutes.

Slowly Scotland found their feet and they carved out their first opportunity on 21 minutes when Jane Ross saw her powerful strike beaten away by Ainhoa Tirapu in the Spanish goal.

Moments later the girls in dark blue were awarded a spot kick when Megan Sneddon’s corner kick was powerfully headed toward goal by Jennifer Beattie; her header came back off the woodwork before striking the hand of Erika Vazquez and Swiss official Staubli pointed to the spot.

Scotland’s talismanic midfielder Kim Little took the responsibility for it and dispatched a clinical finish into the Spanish net as Hampden roared in delighted.

The lead would last just four minutes however after goalkeeper Gemma Fay spilled a shot from Sonia Bermudez and Adrianna Martin reacted quickest to slot away the loose ball.

Captain Fay refused to let her head drop following the error and kept Scotland in the game with a string of super stops.

The Celtic goalie would make amends for that potentially catastrophic error with a sensational double-save just before the half-time interval.

She produced a stunning save low to her left to keep out Martin’s penalty kick after Rhonda Jones was adjudged to have handled inside the box, before reacting quickly to block the rebound.

Opportunities were few and far between during the second half, however substitute Emma Mitchell went close with a drive from the edge of the penalty area that was well held by Tirapu. The best chance of the second half fell to Spain when the busy Bermudez found Vazquez in space at the back post, however her snap shot was well held by Fay.

Neither team was prepared to settle for the draw and kept pushing for a winner.

Martin went close with a header from Bermudez’s corner kick before Scotland were denied a strong penalty shout when the ball struck the hand of Garcia only for play to be waved on.

Despite not getting the result she was hoping for, Scotland boss Signeul was delighted to see her team’s first match at the national stadium rewarded by a record attendance.

She said: “It was a fantastic occasion and we enjoyed the game even though we are a little disappointed with our performance.

“We thank all the fans that came and it was great to see so many turn out.

“Maybe the occasion made the players a little bit nervous, but they loved it and now the first time is over, the next time will be better.

“We know we can, and must, play better than we did in this game and now we have to go to Madrid and win 1-0 – that’s the task.”

Scotland: Fay, Jones, Small, Love, Lauder, Little, Sneddon, Beattie, J Ross (Mitchell 59), Corsie, Evans (Grant 83). Substitutes not used: Lynn, McSorley, L Ross, Fernon, Brown.

Spain: Tirapu, Nicolau, Garcia, Bermudez (Dieguez 90), Martin (Romero 83), Vilanova, Hermoso, Meseguer, Ibarra, Torrejon, Vazquez (Garcia 75). Substitutes not used: Pons, Landa, Boquete, Calderon.

Referee: Esther Staubli (SUI).

Attendance: 4058.