Scotland have beaten Austria 1-0 in Vienna in a major boost for chances of reaching World Cup 2022.
Lyndon Dykes scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot after Che Adams was fouled in the box.
The result, coupled with Denmark’s 5-0 win over Israel, moves Scotland up to second place in Group F with four matches left to play in the campaign.
Austria raced out of the blocks in Vienna, pinning Scotland back and probing for weaknesses in the visitor’s back line with a handful of attacks in the first few minutes.
Scotland had their first chance after eight minutes when Andy Robertson released John McGinn on the left and his cross was headed goalwards by Dykes and save by Bachmann.
Christoph Baumgartner tried his luck from the edge of the box as Austria continued to push, but his shot was wayward and didn’t test Craig Gordon.
The breakneck pace continued and referee Georgi Kabakov made the first of many interventions when booking Che Adams for wrestling with Florian Grillitsch, then showing yellow to Hinteregger for a wild lunge on Callum McGregor.
Minutes later, the Austrian was involved again, this time grappling with Che Adams as the forward looked to get a shot on target. The referee saw no problem initially but, after a VAR review, awarded the penalty though he surprisingly neglected to show Hinteregger a second card.
Dykes took responsibility from the show and hammered his shot down the middle, beating Bachmann with power.
Austria upped the pace yet again as they looked to get back on level terms and Scotland dropped back to defend their slender advantage, making a series of blocks to make it to half time safely.
The action didn’t stop after the restart, with Scotland forced deep again and Jack Hendry forced to clear from an early Austria attack, before VAR was used again, with Austria dismayed that they weren’t awarded a penalty after some grappling from Grant Hanley before a corner was taken.
Scotland weren’t without threat of their own though, and when Bachmann made a mess of a clearance, Adams latched on to the loose ball and worked the ball to O’Donnell but his shot was poor.
The Motherwell defender raced forward minutes later and was much more of a threat with a firm shot that the Austrian keeper had to get down smartly to save.
Scotland made changes with some players tiring after an energetic performance and in the last 20 minutes, Austria increased the pressure.
Craig Gordon was forced into a top class save from an Austrian header from six yards out, then made another stop from a weaker Gregoritsch effort.
In the first minute of added time, Baumgartner put the ball in the net but saw his effort disallowed for offside and there was still time for more drama. Handball from Lewis Ferguson gave Austria a free kick on the edge of the box in the final moments but David Alaba’s shot went over the bar to the relief of the Scotland players.
The final whistle brought three welcome points for Clarke and his players. Scotland not face Israel at Hampden before travelling to face Faroe Islands and Moldova, then host Denmark in their final group game.
More to follow…
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