Scotland boost hopes of World Cup qualification with late victory over Slovakia

 
Ross McLean
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Scotland v Slovakia - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier
Source: Getty

Scotland will seal a place in the World Cup play-offs with victory over Slovenia on Sunday after their hopes of qualification were kept alive by a dramatic late 1-0 win over 10-man Slovakia.

It looked as though it was going to be a frustrating Hampden Park evening for Gordon Strachan’s side as a combination of Slovakia goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and the woodwork denied the Scots time and again.

But in the dying embers of a clash which had seen midfielder Robert Mak dismissed in the 23rd minute, Ikechi Anya’s low cross was turned beyond Dubravka by former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel while under pressure from striker Chris Martin.

Maximum points means a further win in Ljubljana will secure Scotland second place in Group F and one of the eight spots in the play-offs for next summer’s tournament in Russia. Not since 1998 have Scotland qualified for a major tournament.

As it stands, Northern Ireland may still need a point from their final clash against Norway in Oslo on Sunday to reach the play-offs after losing their penultimate qualifier 3-1 to defending champions Germany.

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