Scotland 2 Switzerland 1
With a big Rangers contingent in the squad and a nice night to be watching a game of football I went along to Forthbank to take in Scotland’s 15’s game against Switzerland. It is always interesting to compare Scottish teams against continental opposition and the young Scot’s came from behind to win a game that could have gone either way.
The first real threat to either goal came on thirteen minutes, Kristi Marku sent Scott Gray heading towards the byline on the left and the full-back’s cross flashed across the face of goal with Zak Rudden just arriving too late. Three minutes later Christian Antoniazzi won the ball on the left side of the penalty area but his shot was straight at Joshua Neuenschwander in the Swiss goal.
The visitor’s were technically good and comfortable in possession but at this stage were not threatening the Scotland goal, and it was Scotland who missed the chance of the half on twenty-seven minutes. Zak Rudden sent Jack Aitchison through the inside right channel and he continued into the box before shooting, the majority of spectators thought he had opened the scoring only to realise the shot had only found the side netting. A couple of minutes before the break Kristi Marku’s long diagonal pass found Jack Aitchison on the right side of the box, he laid the ball back into the path of Elliot Watt but his shot lacked a bit of power and was comfortably saved by Joshua Neuenschwander.
Half-Time:- Scotland 0 Switzerland 0
Scotland came close in the opening minute of the second half when Zak Rudden chased a long ball from Elliot Watt into the right side of the box but he was denied by Joshua Neuenschwander who turned the ball wide of his near post. The Swiss replied a couple of minutes later, Granit Haliti sent Lorenzo Gonzalez through on the right side of Scotland’s box, Josh Donaldson came from his line to make a fine block and the defence cleared.
The half was ten minutes old when the Swiss took the lead, the attack started on the right and when Lorenzo Gonzalez found space on the right side of the penalty area his shot rebounded of the inside of the near post and rolled across goal where Nishan Burkhart knocked the ball into the net. Five minutes later from a free-kick close to the touchline on the right and ten yards from the byline was delivered by Scott Gray’s left foot, it was met by Mati Zata at the back post but he couldn’t connect with a clean header and could only knock the ball wide.
The equaliser was only delayed a further minute, Zak Rudden broke into the left side of the penalty area and was tripped by Fabiano Pereiera with the referee pointing to the spot, Elliot Watt took the spotkick sending the keeper the wrong way. Just after the half’s midpoint Granit Haliti broke forward before passing to Lorenzo Gonzalez on the right side of the box, the striker unselfishly returned the ball to Granit Haliti on the penalty spot and only a superb Josh Donaldson save prevented the Swiss restoring their lead.
Scotland made the most of their keeper’s excellence by going up the other end and taking the lead, Jack Aitchison chased a defender towards the byline on the right before winning possession, he went past another defender before cutting the ball back to Zak Rudden, despite Joshua Neuenschwander getting a hand to the shot he couldn’t prevent the ball crossing the line. The visitor’s then missed a great chance to draw level as the clock ticked down, Alessandro Stabile broke forward and passed to Tim Staubli on the edge of the box, his layoff sent the impressive Lorenzo Gonzalez clear, as Josh Donaldson came from his line he knocked the ball past the keeper but just wide of his right hand post. There was still time for Kristi Marku to try his luck from distance which Joshua Neuenschwander saved diving to his right.
Full-Time:- Scotland 2 Switzerland 1
Scotland:- Josh Donaldson (Rangers); Kieran Freeman (Dundee United), Jack Thomson (Rangers), Daniel Church (Celtic), Scott Gray (Rangers); Jack Aitchison (Celtic), Elliot Watt (Preston North End), Kristi Marku (Celtic), Christian Antoniazzi (Celtic); Stephen Kelly (Rangers); Zak Rudden (Rangers).
Subs:- Mati Zata (Rangers) For Stephen Kelly (50 Mins).
Not Used:- Joshua Rae (Celtic), Kerr McInroy (Celtic), Christ Mayuba (Birmingham City), Andrew Irving (Hearts), Thomas Halleran (Forth Valley), Chris Hamilton (Hearts), Callum Sheridan (Hamilton Accies), Lewis Mayo (Rangers), Jordan Houston (Rangers), Lewis Hutchison (Aberdeen).
Switzerland:- Joshua Neuenschwander (Young Boys); Christopher Lungoyi (Servette), Bertrand Tusiama (Servette), Yannick Marchand (FC Basel), Goiele Stumpo (FC Rapperswil Jona); Tim Staubli (FC St-Gall), Fabiano Pereira (FC Fribourg), Alexis Antunes (Servette), Nishan Burkhart (FC Zurich); Granit Haliti (Servette); Lorenzo Gonzalez (Servette).
Subs:- Nicolas Kunzli (FC Zurich) For Christopher Lungoyi (Half-Time), Alessandro Stabile (FC Basel) (49 Mins).
Not Used:- Killian Gravante (FC Sion), Lorenzo Di Michelangeli (FC Luzern), Luca Buhlmann (FC Luzern), Noah Okafor (FC Basel), Sandro Theler (FC Sion), Martin Kunz (Grasshoppers), Yannick Lanker (FC Wil 1900).