Sunday 24 September 2017

Woodburn produces magic in late rescue act for Wales

Moldova 0 Wales 2

Wales' Ben Woodburn gets the better of Moldova's Vitalie Bordian. Photo: PA
Wales' Ben Woodburn gets the better of Moldova's Vitalie Bordian. Photo: PA

Jamie Holland

Wales struck twice in the final 10 minutes to record a hard-fought victory over Moldova in Chisinau and boost their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup finals.

Chris Coleman's side dominated for long periods but were missing the final touch to punish Group D's whipping boys.

However - again inspired by Liverpool teenager Ben Woodburn - they finally found the target courtesy of Hal Robson-Kanu and Aaron Ramsey.

Wales, wearing a new all-yellow change strip to avoid a kit clash, famously lost in Chisinau in 1994 when Moldova celebrated their first game competitive fixture as an independent nation following the break-up of the old Soviet Union.

And, despite a gulf of 141 places between the two in the FIFA world rankings, the game was goalless at half-time thanks to a combination of stubborn Moldovan defending and a dearth of quality in the Welsh attack.

Wales turned to Woodburn on the hour and the Liverpool teenager was instantly into the action with a clipped cross which Robson-Kanu was just unable to reach.

Hal Robson-Kanu taps the ball in at the back post. Photo: REUTERS
Hal Robson-Kanu taps the ball in at the back post. Photo: REUTERS

Woodburn then set up the opener for Robson-Kanu, ending a surging dribble with a pinpoint cross from which the West Brom striker scored with a diving header.

Wayne Hennessey produced a brilliant stop to deny Andrei Cojocari in stoppage time before the result was put beyond doubt seconds later when Ramsey's deflected effort spun in.

Wales manager Chris Coleman said: "It was a good win. It wasn't our best performance in terms of 90 minutes. We had to be patient but everything we asked of the boys, they did.

"We thought there could be a late goal. Young Ben delivered again - a good cross and Hal Robson-Kanu puts it into the back of the net - fantastic."

Hal Robson-Kanu celebrates after giving Wales the lead in Moldova. Photo: REUTERS
Hal Robson-Kanu celebrates after giving Wales the lead in Moldova. Photo: REUTERS
Gareth Bale drills in a cross. Photo: PA
Gareth Bale drills in a cross. Photo: PA
The Wales players applaud their fans after the match. Photo: REUTERS
The Wales players applaud their fans after the match. Photo: REUTERS

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