Bale’s opener not enough for Wales

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

WALES dropped two pre­cious World Cup qual­i­fy­ing points with a 1-1 draw against Ge­or­gia in Cardiff.

Gareth Bale headed Wales in front from a 10th-minute cor­ner and the Euro 2016 semi­fi­nal­ists should have ex­tended their lead be­fore half­time.

But Ge­or­gia lev­elled through Tornike Okri­ashvili’s 57th-minute header and al­most won it dur­ing a strong fin­ish when Va­leri Kaza­ishvili struck the cross­bar.

On pa­per it seemed a mis­match with Ge­or­gia ranked 137th in the world, a mas­sive 127 places be­tween Euro 2016 fi­nal­ists Wales.

And Ge­or­gia had won only one of man­ager Vladimir Weiss’ six games in charge, al­beit a 1-0 away vic­tory over Spain in June.

But Wales had lost all three of their pre­vi­ous meet­ings against Ge­or­gia and have of­ten strug­gled to break down stub­born op­po­nents who de­fend deep in num­bers.

The ab­sence of Joe Allen and Aaron Ram­sey put ex­tra em­pha­sis on Gareth Bale to per­form, and the Real Madrid for­ward did not dis­ap­point dur­ing a lively start where he al­most latched onto Andy King’s dan­ger­ous cross.

But Bale did not have to wait long for his 25th Wales goal. Joe Led­ley’s 10th-minute cor­ner found him un­marked in the six-yard area to score with a trade­mark header.

Bale was clearly in the mood, run­ning at de­fend­ers at every op­por­tu­nity, and test­ing Ge­or­gia goal­keeper Giorgi Lo­ria with a 25-yard free­kick which he him­self had won.

Wales needed a sec­ond goal to ease any nerves which may have ex­isted among the sell-out Cardiff City Sta­dium crowd of 32,652.

But Ge­or­gia were firmly in the game now and Tornike Okri­ashvili put his shot wide from 20 yards be­fore the vis­i­tors equalised af­ter 57 min­utes.

Neil Tay­lor con­ceded pos­ses­sion and Ge­or­gia broke quickly for Va­leri Kaza­ishvili to float a ball to the back post, which the un­marked Okri­ashvili fin­ished with a firm header. – The In­de­pen­dent

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.