Wales made to pay for missed penalty

The Guardian - Sport - - Football International Friendlies - Stu­art James Cardiff City Sta­dium

Lawrence 75


Cooper 90

1 1 There were less than three min­utes on the clock when the Wales sup­port­ers started their cam­paign to keep Chris Cole­man on as man­ager and it quickly be­came clear that it was go­ing to be the sound­track of the evening.

“Chrissy Cole­man, we want you to stay” was the mes­sage that re­ver­ber­ated from the fans time and again on the man­ager’s 49th – and po­ten­tially last – match in charge of his coun­try.

Talks will con­tinue be­tween Cole­man and the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion of Wales over the com­ing days, with the 47-yearold’s con­tract ex­pir­ing at the end of the month. The feel­ing is that the two par­ties are not that far apart, with key de­tails still to be re­solved sur­round­ing Cole­man’s back­room staff and the in­fra­struc­ture that he wants in place to build on his work over the best part of six years. Ei­ther way, his legacy is as­sured with Wales.

In many ways this was a night that pro­vided a glimpse into the fu­ture, with Ethan Am­padu, Ben Wood­burn and David Brooks all show­ing mo­ments of prom­ise on their full in­ter­na­tional de­buts and the 23-year-old Tom Lawrence de­liv­er­ing a fine solo goal 15 min­utes from time.

There was also a lit­tle bit of his­tory for Chris Gunter, who made his 85th ap­pear­ance for Wales to draw level with the late Gary Speed as the coun­try’s most­capped out­field player. Panama, how­ever, had not read the script and the evening fin­ished with Ar­mando Cooper scor­ing an in­jury-time equaliser to deny Cole­man and his play­ers vic­tory.

While the fail­ure to se­cure a place at

Rus­sia con­tin­ues to hang over Wales, there are no such con­cerns for Panama. They have qual­i­fied for the World Cup fi­nals for the first time, courtesy of a dra­matic

vic­tory over Costa Rica last month that brought a na­tion of four mil­lion peo­ple to a stand­still. Juan Car­los Varela, the Panama pres­i­dent, duly de­clared the fol­low­ing day a pub­lic hol­i­day.

The ob­jec­tives are much longer-term for Wales and Cole­man picked a team with that in mind, giv­ing Am­padu, who is 17 years old, Wood­burn, who turned 18 last month, and the 20-year-old Brooks their first Wales starts. All three caught the eye when they came on in the 2-0 de­feat against France in Paris on Fri­day and they were quick to make an im­pres­sion here, too. Six min­utes had gone when Am­padu pinched pos­ses­sion, Brooks crossed from the right and Wood­burn, ar­riv­ing at the far post, had his header saved by Jaime Penedo, the Panama goal­keeper.

When Sam Vokes broke through the mid­dle and thumped a 25-year shot wide it seemed only a mat­ter of time be­fore they

Tom Lawrence gave Wales the lead with 15 min­utes re­main­ing against Panama

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