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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007, 18:05 GMT 19:05 UK
Faroe Islands 0-2 Scotland



By Julian Taylor

Shaun Maloney
Maloney dashes off to celebrate after putting Scotland ahead
Scotland earned a victory over the Faroe Islands in Toftir's Svangaskard Stadium to maintain their hopes of Euro 2008 qualification from Group B.

Alex McLeish's side went ahead with Shaun Maloney curling a sublime free-kick over the wall and past the stranded keeper on the half-hour mark.

Garry O'Connor forced home a second after 34 minutes to ease the pressure.

The Faroes rallied after the break, striking the woodwork twice as the Scots' performance became more relaxed.

However, they emerged from the rugged, clifftop village as victors, unlike previous shock draws in 1999 and 2002.

It was far from a vintage display, but three precious points were secured in the continuing group contest with France, Italy and Ukraine.

Scotland captain Barry Ferguson banished pre-match fitness doubts to be named in the starting line-up.

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As expected, Maloney replaced the injured Lee McCulloch was forced to withdraw from the squad with an ankle injury.

O'Connor and Kris Boyd resumed their potentially prosperous strike partnership after an eye-catching performance in last week's 1-0 friendly win in Austria.

Faroes boss Jogvan Martin Olsen had all his best players available, including defenders Jon Roi Jacobsen and Suni Olsen, who both play their club football with Danish side Aalborg.

There was an early injury worry for the Faroes when Oli Johannessen was stretchered off, only to return to the action, with the Scots predictably dominating possession.

Home goalkeeper Jakob Mikkelsen - who had a brief spell in Scottish football during 2003/2004 with Partick Thistle - brought out a rather theatrical save from a Maloney free-kick in the game's first real scoring opportunity.

The in-form O'Connor should have put McLeish's men ahead, but the Lokomotiv Moscow forward's shot cannoned off the base of the post, and the Faroese survived.

An even better chance went astray in the 28th minute when Boyd blazed an angled volley over the crossbar.

O'Connor (left) is congratulated by captain Barry Ferguson
O'Connor (left) is congratulated by captain Barry Ferguson

It mattered little as the visitors went ahead two minutes later.

Maloney stepped up and swerved a free kick over the Faroese wall - it was absolutely precise, leaving Mikkelsen with no chance whatsover.

Scotland began to play with more verve and were rewarded with a second after an impressive build-up.

Paul Hartley cut in from the right and flicked the ball into the path of midfield partner Darren Fletcher.

The Manchester United player's cross found O'Connor with a free aerial opportunity, and the bustling striker made no mistake with the rebound following Mikkelsen's save.

The North Atlantic hosts predictably struggled to impose any pressure on the Scottish rearguard, with Craig Gordon a virtual spectator in goal.

However, Olsen's outfit began the second half brightly, and caught Scotland sleeping with a couple of attacks.

Jakob Borg hooked just over the crossbar from a Jon Roi Jacobsen cross, before Christian Holst stabbed the ball inches wide.

Gordon made a crucial stop in the 62nd minute, saving at the feet of Borg who evaded the attention of Stephen McManus.

The Faroes were making a mockery of their minnow status and were unfortunate not to pull a goal back, Jacobsen's flicked header coming off the upright and into the arms of a relieved Gordon.

Ferguson received a needless caution for a challenge on Olsen, ensuring a suspension for the next qualifier against Lithuania.

Andrew av Flotum almost made Scotland sweat with just two minutes remaining, beating the offside trap only to drill the ball against the bar.

With no consolation strike forthcoming, the Scots collected the points - unlike their more infamous past failures.


Faroe Islands: Mikkelsen, Danielsen, Jon Roi Jacobsen, Rogvi Jacobsen, Benjaminsen, Thomassen, Borg (av Flotum 82), Hogni Jacobsen, Johannesen (Djurhuus, 33, Samuelsen, 77), Holst, Olsen.

Scotland: Gordon, Alexander, Naysmith, McManus, Weir, Ferguson, Fletcher (Teale, 67), Hartley, Boyd (Naismith 83), O'Connor, Maloney, (Adam 77).

Scorers: Shaun Maloney 31, Garry O'Connor 35

Att: 4,100

Ref: Georgios Kasnaferis (Greece)



SEE ALSO
Scotland's dream alive and kicking
06 Jun 07 |  Internationals
Scotland stay in touch at summit
06 Jun 07 |  Internationals


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