Scotland led twice through Pauline Hamill in Edinburgh on Sunday before falling behind to a goal from substitute Natalia Barbashina, giving Russia hope of reaching their first finals since 2001. Russia defender Valentina Savchenkova picked up a booking that leaves her suspended for the second leg, but coach Igor Shalimov – whose nation lost to Finland at this stage four years ago – has the rest of his squad fit and wants them to show the same spirit they did at the weekend.
"It was a difficult game," Shalimov told uefa.com. "Scotland showed themselves to be a typical British team, fighting hard and playing down the wings. We were put under a lot of pressure early on but the girls showed great character and deserved the win." Considering the second leg, where fans will be admitted free of charge to the Spartak Stadium, he added: "We will try to play aggressively. Our aim is to attack and go for another win. We also hope the fans come to the stadium to support us."
Aiming to silence those spectators is Scotland striker Julie Fleeting, who was unable to add to her tally of 107 international goals in the first leg because of suspension. She is now available and manager Anna Signeul is hoping the added firepower will allow her side to turn the tie and earn a first qualification for a senior women's finals.
"We need to be brave when we go to Russia," Signeul said. "The Russians are a good team and the front four players are so skilful we are not good enough at one versus one in defence. However, we are good at one-on-one in attack and this will be our policy in Russia. In our attacking third we were really strong and that's where we need to play well over there. I think sometimes we are too afraid of giving space away at the back so we sit a little bit too deep for my liking. But now we have to take a chance and try and play with a high defensive line. We will have Julie back then and [Savchenkova] will be out , so that's good news for us."
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