Russia withstood a tremendous Scotland comeback in Nalchik to qualify for UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ on away goals.
Own goal decisive
Having trailed twice in Edinburgh on Sunday before winning the first leg of this play-off 3-2, Russia increased their aggregate lead on 20 minutes when Scotland defender Ifeoma Dieke turned the ball into her own net. However, the visitors were not overawed by needing to find three goals, and two strikes from their double scorer of the weekend, Pauline Hamill, gave them hope. In the end, though, Russia survived as the Scots finished agonisingly short of their first women's finals.
Scotland were able to welcome back prolific striker Julie Fleeting, suspended for the home leg, while Russia had midfielder Valentina Savchenkova serving a ban and also left out Elena Morozova in favour of Olga Petrova and Olga Sergaeva. The first half was even but Russia got a break when Petrova's cross from the left was inadvertently turned in by Dieke. Within 13 minutes Scotland nearly levelled, Anna Kozhnikova clearing the ball off the line as it looked to be creeping in.
Comeback in vain
After the interval Scotland continued to push and in the 64th minute a Hamill free-kick gave her side hope. With five minutes to go, the same player put the away team in front on the day with a header, yet that elusive third goal did not come and in the dying seconds Russia substitutes Olga Letyushova and Natalia Barbashina hit the post. Their side can now look forward to the 18 November draw and a trip to Finland next summer.