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Wales held by group leaders Croatia

Wales held by group leaders Croatia

Bruno Petkovic (R) received a yellow card after this collision with Ethan AmpaduGareth Bale's excellent equaliser helped Wales to hold 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia in a bad-tempered contest in Cardiff.The Real Madrid forward's composed finish in injury time in the first half ensured Wales maintained their eight-year unbeaten run in home European Championship qualifiers, a record that has extended to 10 matches.The Wales goal cancelled out Nikola Vlasic's opener on nine minutes as the former Everton man found the net with a shot that hit the inside of the post.
The result means Wales' destiny is no longer in their own hands in Group E, as they are now relying on Slovakia dropping points in their remaining two fixtures, while Wales will need to claim six points from their final two games in Azerbaijan and at home to Hungary.Should Wales and Slovakia finish level on points, Wales would qualify by virtue of their better head to head record.Croatia remain top of Group E on the cusp of qualifying for Euro 2020, while Wales remain fourth, though they know that the Nations League could yet offer them a backdoor route to the play-offs if they fail to finish second.
Wales miss Ramsey on night of heavy challenges
Wales supporters have in the past expressed disappointment at the perception that Ryan Giggs was often unavailable for his country in his playing days, but he is having rotten luck in terms of dealing with injuries as manager.Not many would dispute that Bale and Aaron Ramsey are Giggs' key players and senior figures, yet Ramsey has not played a second of the 630 minutes of Group E action that Wales have competed in.Ramsey did not play for Arsenal last term after 18 April because of an abductor injury and despite featuring five times for new club Juventus this season, a flare-up of the same injury prevented him from travelling to Slovakia and from training intensely enough to be considered to feature against Croatia.His absence, however, did at least allow Giggs to name an unchanged line-up for the first time in competitive matches during his 17-game tenure as the national team boss.The lack of Ramsey was especially pivotal in a game where the opposition have such exceptional talent in midfield, as England found out painfully in last year's World Cup semi-final.Croatia's talent in the middle of the pitch is such that even with Inter Milan's Marcelo Brozovic suspended, they were still able to leave out Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic, who came on as a half-time substitute.That talent and Croatia's ability to keep the ball was evident from the early stages and the visitors scored with their first attack as they cut the Wales defence to shreds with a quick break.
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Nikola Vlasic celebrates his early goal in CardiffJosip Brekalo advanced and Wales did not close down the space as he freed Bruno Petkovic, who cleverly laid the ball into the path of Vlasic and he precisely fired home via the inside of the post.A heavy collision between Domagoj Vida and Daniel James gave Wales even more to fret about, with James remaining on the field, but looking groggy after a heavy landing.The challenge was almost exactly replicated after the interval when Petkovic crashed into Ethan Ampadu who landed awkwardly. It was something of a surprise the match finished with 22 players on the field.The challenge on Ampadu saw Petkovic booked - he was one of eight - but arguably the punishment could have been stronger for a late arrival that would have most likely resulted in a red at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. Ampadu could not continue while James at least looked to be fully recovered in the second half, though he shot at the near post when he should have fired across goal with Wales' first foray forward after half time. Dominik Livakovic was able to smother at the second attempt.Right-back Tin Jedvaj fired just over in the second half, but Croatia largely had plenty of possession without looking like finding a winner.
Davies the creator as he wins golden cap
Wales' difficult start could have been even worse on 12 minutes but Wayne Hennessey saved Ivan Perisic's flicked header after Petkovic's inviting cross was misjudged by Ben Davies.It was a tough moment for Davies as he celebrated becoming the 41st Wales player to reach 50 caps.Still feeling his way back from summer hernia surgery and currently playing second fiddle at Tottenham Hotspur to Danny Rose, Davies picked the perfect moment to ignite his season with a brilliant assist for Bale's leveller in first-half stoppage time.The left-back rampaged forward and just got his foot to the ball as Mateo Kovacic looked for a free kick that never arrived.
Rate the players: Wales v Croatia
As it happened: Wales 1-1 Croatia
Davies keept his composure to slide a pass into the penalty area. The delivery was perfectly weighted for Bale, who collected brilliantly to settle himself and shoot across Livakovic into the bottom corner of the net.It was a night where clear chances were at a premium and Wales could not afford to over-commit in pursuit of a winner in a tense second half.The night ended on a slight note of disappointment for Wales with Joe Allen receiving a late yellow card that will mean he is suspended in Azerbaijan, but they deserve credit for containing Croatia.MAN OF THE MATCH: Gareth Bale
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Gareth Bale shows his delight after scoring Wales' equaliserBale continues to inspire an entire nation as he hits top form in the environment where he feels comfortable and appreciated. Scored a classic Bale goal and always gave Croatia a cause for concern until he limped through the last few minutes with Giggs later citing cramp as the Real Madrid star's problem.
Line-ups
Match Stats
Live Text
Line-ups
Wales
1Hennessey
14Roberts
16Lockyer
5Rodon
4Davies
15AmpaduSubstituted forMorrellat 50'minutes
11Bale
7AllenBooked at 86mins[/i]
17WilliamsSubstituted forH Wilsonat 68'minutes
20JamesBooked at 90mins[/i]
13MooreBooked at 57mins[/i]Substituted forRobertsat 86'minutes
Substitutes
2Gunter
3Taylor
6Williams
8Roberts
9Vokes
10H Wilson
12Ward
18Morrell
19Lawrence
21Davies
22Matondo
23Vaulks
Croatia
1Livakovic
16Jedvaj
6LovrenBooked at 45mins[/i]
21VidaBooked at 14mins[/i]
3Barisic
10ModricBooked at 89mins[/i]Substituted forBadeljat 90'minutes
8KovacicSubstituted forRakiticat 45'minutesBooked at 85mins[/i]
4Perisic
13Vlasic
17Brekalo
20PetkovicBooked at 46mins[/i]Substituted forRebicat 64'minutes
Substitutes
2Melnjak
5Peric
7Rakitic
9Orsic
11Bradaric
12L Kalinic
14Skoric
15Pasalic
18Rebic
19Badelj
22Bartolec
23Sluga
Referee:Bjorn Kuipers
Match Stats
Home TeamWalesAway TeamCroatiaPossessionHome36%Away64%ShotsHome6Away6Shots on TargetHome3Away2CornersHome1Away2FoulsHome10Away16
Live Text
Posted at
Match ends, Wales 1, Croatia 1.
Full Time
Posted at 90'+9' Second Half ends, Wales 1, Croatia 1.
Booking
Posted at 90'+6' Daniel James (Wales) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.Posted at 90'+6' Tin Jedvaj (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 90'+6' Foul by Daniel James (Wales).Posted at 90'+6' Foul by Ivan Perisic (Croatia).Posted at 90'+6' Tyler Roberts (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 90'+6' Attempt missed. Ivan Rakitic (Croatia) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Borna Barisic.
Substitution
Posted at 90' Substitution, Croatia. Milan Badelj replaces Luka Modric.
Booking
Posted at 89' Luka Modric (Croatia) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.Posted at 87' Attempt blocked. Connor Roberts (Wales) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Tyler Roberts.
Substitution
Posted at 86' Substitution, Wales. Tyler Roberts replaces Kieffer Moore.
Booking
Posted at 86' Joe Allen (Wales) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.Posted at 86' Josip Brekalo (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 86' Foul by Joe Allen (Wales).
Booking
Posted at 85' Ivan Rakitic (Croatia) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.Posted at 85' Foul by Ivan Rakitic (Croatia).Posted at 85' Harry Wilson (Wales) wins a free kick in the attacking half.Posted at 82' Luka Modric (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 82' Foul by Kieffer Moore (Wales).Posted at 80' Ante Rebic (Croatia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.Posted at 80' Foul by Joe Morrell (Wales).Posted at 78' Foul by Nikola Vlasic (Croatia).Posted at 78' Harry Wilson (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 74' Attempt missed. Gareth Bale (Wales) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Daniel James.Posted at 72' Attempt missed. Tin Jedvaj (Croatia) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Nikola Vlasic.Posted at 70' Foul by Ivan Perisic (Croatia).Posted at 70' Harry Wilson (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 69' Domagoj Vida (Croatia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.Posted at 69' Foul by Kieffer Moore (Wales).
Substitution
Posted at 68' Substitution, Wales. Harry Wilson replaces Jonathan Williams.Posted at 68' Ivan Perisic (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 68' Foul by Joe Allen (Wales).Posted at 66' Foul by Tin Jedvaj (Croatia).Posted at 66' Daniel James (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution
Posted at 64' Substitution, Croatia. Ante Rebic replaces Bruno Petkovic.Posted at 62' Corner, Croatia. Conceded by Joe Rodon.Posted at 61' Luka Modric (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 61' Foul by Connor Roberts (Wales).
Booking
Posted at 57' Kieffer Moore (Wales) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
goal
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