Faroe Islands 2-2 Scotland
Barry Ferguson's goal seven minutes from time salvaged a draw for Scotland against the Faroe Islands in the Group 5 opener in Toftír.
Ferguson saves the day
John Petersen had struck twice inside the opening 13 minutes for Henrik Larsen's side to leave Berti Vogts' Scotland facing their sixth straight defeat since the former Germany coach took charge of the international team. Indeed, it took a much improved second-half display, capped by goals from Paul Lambert and Ferguson, to spare Scottish blushes.
'Simply not acceptable'
Vogts's though was far from pleased. "I am satisfied with our second half [performance] but I am extremely disappointed with the result. For professional footballers this is simply not acceptable," said the German manager afterwards.
Petersen at the double
The Faroes had been rewarded for seizing the early initiative when Petersen threw himself forward to direct Julian Johnsson's cross past Rab Douglas after just seven miutes. Bad became worse for the visitors six minutes later: Petersen getting on to the end of a Jens Hansen pass to beat the Celtic FC keeper for a second time.
If the decision to play the match at the Toftír ground, rather than a brand-new national stadium, had been controversial, there was nothing contentious about the first-half score. The hosts looked on course for a victory to rival the 1-0 win against Austria twelve years ago which heralded their arrival on the international scene.
However, the second half brought about a change in personnel and approach from the away team. With Paul Dickov dropping into the midfield, and Stevie Crawford brought into the attack, Scotland came into the game and gained a foothold when Paul Lambert's shot found its way, via two deflections, through a crowded goalmouth and past the home goalkeeper on the hour.
Leaving it late
Thereafter, despite a fair trade in chances at both ends, the Faroes appeared content to sit back and hold on to their lead. The ploy worked until seven minutes from time when the Rangers FC captain Ferguson raced through the heart of the home defence to chip in the equaliser.
Two points dropped
According to the Faroes coach Larsen, however, it had been a case of two points dropped rather than one gained. "I am a bit disappointed because we had the chances to win but overall it was a good performance from my side. Six points in this group is realistic but we should have recorded our first three today," he said.