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Scots finish fourth after rescuing their unbeaten record

THERE was, perhaps inevitably, a flatness about Scotland's performance in the final game of the Cyprus Women's Cup.

However, Anna Signeul's players summoned up the necessary reserves to score a late equaliser against South Korea and maintain their unbeaten record in the tournament.

The match would officially end as a 1-1 draw, although the Scots did lose the resultant penalty shoot-out emphatically, which meant South Korea finished third in the tournament with Scotland in fourth.

Unlike the previous group games, Scotland had to rely on goalkeeper Gemma Fay to keep themselves within touching distance of a draw. She made two vital stops within the opening 15 minutes and a further two after striker Yoo Young-ah put her side ahead in the 63rd minute.

Scotland arrived in Cyprus having left four players behind with injuries, and four more were unavailable at various times during the tournament. That contributed to many of the players starting four games in eight days and that had an effect on their performance.

Only in the last 10 minutes, with their unbeaten record about to tumble, did the Scots look like the side which had drawn with France and beaten both the Netherlands and Australia. Jenny Beattie hit the bar and substitute Joelle Murray had a shot cleared off the line, before Kim Little turned in the box to send a shot past Kim Jung-Mi with just three minutes remaining.

The tall South Korean goalkeeper was outstanding in the penalty shoot-out, saving from Jane Ross, Beattie and Megan Sneddon, after Rachel Corsie had converted the Scots' first spot-kick.

"This is the first time we've come through the tournament unbeaten," said Jo Love, the Glasgow City midfielder who has played in all seven Cyprus Cups. "All four teams we've faced have been higher in the rankings. It has been a great tournament for us and the perfect preparation for next month's World Cup qualifiers against Poland and Bosnia.

"The draw with France was a great step forward because we've never got close to them before. Now we feel we're within touching distance of all these top teams - and possibly better than some of them."

Scotland's earlier work in the tournament was given further gloss when the three other sides in Group B all enjoyed emphatic last day wins.

France led the way by scoring two early goals and always looked comfortable in beating England 2-0 in the final to repeat their Cyprus Cup win of 2012. The Netherlands demolished Switzerland 4-1 and Australia thrashed Italy 5-2.

There was further cheer for Scotland when striker Lisa Evans won the award for top scorer in the tournament with four goals.

Having waited patiently throughout the four games for her chance, 20-year-old attacking midfielder Heather Richards also got her coveted first Scotland cap when she was sent on in injury time against the Koreans.

"This has been the icing on the cake after learning so much on this trip," said the Celtic player. "It has been great to train with the full squad in Cyprus and see at first hand how high the standard is and what I need to do to improve."

Signeul was delighted with the effort of her side. "The performances have been better than we could have expected," said the Scotland coach. "We have started to play really good football and scored 10 goals."

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