Substitute Abi Harrison took Scotland one step closer to the Women’s World Cup with an extra-time goal against Austria.
Bristol City forward Harrison headed home Erin Cuthbert’s six-yard corner in the 92nd minute of the first-round play-off in front of a record crowd of 10,182 at Hampden and Scotland held on to a 1-0 victory.
“We talk about inspiring and I hope people feel that today,” said Scotland manager Pedro Martinez Losa. “We believed in what we were doing.”
The victory sets up another clash for Hampden next Tuesday against the Republic of Ireland in one of the three play-offs of the European second round.
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“Mental strength helped us find the result against very difficult opponents,” added the Scotland coach. “We know the Republic of Ireland well. It’s time to rest first, recover the players, recover energy and leave.”
The two highest ranked winners – based on their record in the qualifying groups – will go on to next year’s finals in Australia and New Zealand. The other will enter a 10-team intercontinental tournament that will provide the last three qualified teams.
Lee Gibson made a save early on as Austria forced several corners, but the Scottish goalkeeper was rarely bothered.
Striker Martha Thomas had an eye for goal on the other side after Samantha Kerr’s ball in the channel, but she slipped when the keeper came out to challenge and Scottish midfielder Caroline Weir saw a safe volley.
However, torrential rain was making the game difficult, and Scotland’s last ball wasn’t good enough as they had a period of pressure around the half hour mark.
The closest both sides came in the first half was when Julia Hickelsberger brushed Scotland’s 20-yard bar.
The second half was also tense. Austria wasn’t afraid to try their luck at long range, but they rarely hit the mark.
Scotland caused some problems with high balls and one of them produced their best chance in the second half, after the visiting goalkeeper had opened half of the goal. Claire Emslie crossed, but substitute Fiona Brown headed in from 12 yards.
Austrian substitute Katja Wienerroither had two chances at the end of regulation time, but shot wide each time.
Harrison showed the way to goal as she went up well to meet Cuthbert’s inviting kick and the biggest scare Scotland had was when Barbara Dunst beat Nicola Docherty inside the box only to kick over.
Scotland’s Captain Rachel Corsie: “We knew they were going to make it difficult. The conditions didn’t make it easy. The pitch was soft. We managed the game quite well most of the time. Abi changed the game, she was excellent. She deserved the goal.”
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