Scotland survived a wonder goal from Deyna Castellanos to beat Venezuela in their first full international since their World Cup play-off defeat by the Republic of Ireland.
Headed goals from Kelly Clark and Claire Emslie gave Pedro Martinez Losa’s side a deserved half-time lead.
But Castellanos caught out Scotland goalkeeper Jenna Fife with a lob all the way from near the halfway line.
Venezuela had the Scots reeling, but they recovered to see out the win.
Scotland’s fourth victory in six outings sent Venezuela, 27 places below the Scots in 52nd place in the world rankings, to a fifth consecutive defeat.
The South Americans on Thursday had lost 3-1 to Panama, who the Scots defeated 2-0 two days later in what had been downgraded to an under-23 international.
Only Chelsea playmaker Erin Cuthbert was asked to start again in a side showing four changes from last month’s loss to the Irish at Hampden as both sides looked to put behind them the disappointment of having missed out on next year’s World Cup finals.
While the Scots started tentatively in Cadiz, Venezuela looked comfortable on the ball as they belied a side who lost a South American fifth-place play-off to Chile that would have taken them to the inter-continental play-offs.
However, as the Scots began to dominate, they looked to have taken the lead when Fiona Brown rose to meet an Emslie cross – but, as the ball trickled over the line as it emerged from a group of bodies, the referee ruled for a foul on Nayluisa Caceres when it looked like the goalkeeper had actually collided with her own defenders.
That was one of the few opportunities created despite a wealth of possession until Celtic defender Clark connected with Caroline Weir’s corner whipped into the near post after 36 minutes.
Scotland extended the lead within another four minutes as Rosengard’s Brown jinked inside her marker and found unmarked fellow winger Emslie to head powerfully home from 12 yards.
It looked like a routine win was on the cards – until Castellanos showed the class of a player who made the opposite journey to Scotland’s Weir this summer, from Real Madrid to Manchester City.
Shortly after Gabriela Garcia had her joy cut short by an offside flag, her strike partner spotted Fife drifting to the edge of her penalty box and launched a shot over the goalkeeper’s head from just inside Scotland’s half.
Having looked ragged and rattled, Scotland steadied themselves to threaten again at the other end, but substitute striker Kirsty Hanson’s stabbed effort against the outside of a post was the closest they came to making the scoreline more comfortable.
- 6ClarkSubstituted forHowardat 88′minutes
- 22CuthbertSubstituted forArthurat 70′minutes
- 7BrownSubstituted forHayat 70′minutes
- 9WeirSubstituted forMcAllisterat 84′minutes
- 18EmslieSubstituted forDavidsonat 88′minutes
- 20ThomasSubstituted forHansonat 70′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 5GiménezBooked at 31mins
- 8MartinezSubstituted forAstudilloat 85′minutes
- 20RodríguezSubstituted forFraizat 90′minutes
- 11CarrascoBooked at 43mins
- 18VisoSubstituted forVillamizarat 78′minutes
- Zulema González González
Match ends, Scotland 2, Venezuela Women 1.
Second Half ends, Scotland 2, Venezuela Women 1.
Kirsty Hanson (Scotland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Kirsty Hanson (Scotland).
Yenifer Giménez (Venezuela Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Rebecca McAllister (Scotland).
Michelle Romero (Venezuela Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Scotland. Conceded by Verónica Herrera.
Attempt blocked. Nicola Docherty (Scotland) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lauren Davidson.
Substitution, Venezuela Women. Ana Fraiz replaces Dayana Rodríguez.
Substitution, Scotland. Lauren Davidson replaces Claire Emslie.
Substitution, Scotland. Sophie Howard replaces Kelly Clark.
Attempt missed. Kirsty Hanson (Scotland) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Nicola Docherty.
Substitution, Venezuela Women. Maikerlin Astudillo replaces Barbara Martinez because of an injury.
Substitution, Scotland. Rebecca McAllister replaces Caroline Weir.
Chloe Arthur (Scotland) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Paola Villamizar (Venezuela Women).
Foul by Kirsty Hanson (Scotland).
Verónica Herrera (Venezuela Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Caroline Weir (Scotland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kirsty Hanson.