Monday, 23 October, 2017

Serbia 1-1 Wales: Mitrovic leveller denies depleted Welsh three points

Laurie Berry | 13 June, 2017, 04:26

Aaron Ramsey's penalty helped Wales to a precious 1-1 draw in Serbia in World Cup qualifying on Sunday as they kept their hopes of a place at the finals in Russian Federation alive.

Aaron Ramsey stepped up to take the penalty and found the top corner with a stylish Panenka-like chip, sending Stojkovic the wrong way.

Ramsey said that he did not know of the historical link before taking the penalty, although the only thought in his mind as he collected the ball from Vladimir Stojkovic and exchanged words of intimidation with the Serbian goalkeeper was to finish audaciously from 12 yards. It was an outrageous piece of skill and came after a comedy of errors from Serbia's point of view. "We have seen that", Coleman said.

Coleman's men will need to channel the spirit of 2016 in Belgrade as they will be without star man Bale and key defender Neil Taylor through suspension.

"They were three important points against opponents that made things hard for us and now it is time to rest".

"But I don't think that would have been in Aaron's thinking". Serbia now sit in first, level on points with the Republic of Ireland and are under pressure to beat Wales in order to remain in the driver's seat. "But I had no doubt he'd score because he's playing with such confidence at the moment".

"As soon as I got off the plane a few months ago, I could feel it".

This was always going to be a very tough game for Wales, being in Serbia where there are haunting memories, and without Gareth Bale.

Kyrie Irving saves his best for when Cavs face Finals elimination
And that's just on offense. "Yeah, it's like déjà vu, except obviously Draymond being here is very helpful", Klay Thompson said. The reason it's 3-1 though, is the immediate concern. "You have to give them credit for how they played", Durant said.

Robbie Savage, who played alongside Coleman for Wales, feels this match could be the pivotal moment of the qualifying campaign and could define the next two years for the country.

"You've seen it time and again, football is odd, and we might be soon talking about one of the best Wales performances in years".

Serbia's 1-1 draw with Wales in Belgrade means that Ireland remain four points clear of Wales and Austria, with only four games remaining.

Ireland came from behind to draw 1-1 with Austria earlier with Stoke City striker Jon Walters volleying in the equaliser with five minutes left in Dublin.

Serbia finally got their reward for relentless pressure after 73 minutes when Mitrovic, an aerial threat in the box throughout the contest, collected a loose ball and fired it past Wales keeper Wayne Hennessey from seven metres.

"The journey from the hotel normally takes 20 minutes and they'll say "You know what, tonight, we've got to leave now because it will be mayhem".

There hasn't been much to separate the top four teams in this qualifying group and this game played out just as you might have expected with both teams looking quite nervy and cagey.

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