An opportunistic brace from Robert Mak helped Slovakia to a comfortable 3-0 win over Scotland in a World Cup qualifier at City Arena Trnava on Tuesday night.
- Slovakia 3 Scotland 0
- Scots begin well
- Mak double stuns visitors
- Nemec completes the scoring
After a good start to the game, Scotland were devastated to find themselves a goal behind when Mak reacted quickest to a rebound in the box to put the hosts ahead in the 17th minute.
The Scottish defence seemed to go to sleep in the second half and Mak added a second in the 56th minute before Adam Nemec got ahead of his man at a 68th minute corner to head home the third.
The visitors surprisingly looked the more comfortable early on and had a great chance when Robert Snodgrass sent a lovely ball in for Steven Fletcher, but the striker slipped in his attempt at a header and sent it wide.
The hosts quickly grew into the match however, and began passing the ball around midfield with ease. Jan Durica had their first chance of the match with a speculative effort from long range, but David Marshall was able to palm the ball away.
Soon afterwards Slovakia grabbed the lead. Jakub Holubek delivered a pin-point cross for Marek Hamsik, who forced a save out of Marshall and Mak was on hammer home the rebound in the 17th minute.
Scotland were appealing for a foul on Fletcher in the build up, but the referee waved away the protest and the goal stood.
The Scots hit back well and Snodgrass forced a smart save out of Matus Kozacik before Kieran Tierney teed the ball up for James McArthur, who disappointingly headed wide.
The visitors were fortunate not to be more than a single goal down at half time after Marshall pulled off a couple of great saves in quick succession, first from Mak and then Jan Durica, to keep his side in the game.
Unfortunately, in the end, it did not matter as the hosts continued to dominate after the break.
The Scottish defence looked all over the place in the second half and they let Mak through again in the 56th minute. Hamsik whipped the ball in from the left wing for Mak, who beat his man with a neat shimmy before slotting it past Marshall to make it 2-0.
Just 12 minutes later, the match was all but over when Mak turned provider to deliver a corner for Adam Nemec to power the third goal home.
Seemingly content with a three-goal cushion, Slovakia smartly backed off a bit and began to press less and less high up the pitch. Scotland saw a lot more of the ball in the closing stages but had very little space to do anything with it as the hosts effectively smothered the game to cruise to a 3-0 win.