Mitrovic strikes late to deny Wales

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Aleksandar Mitrovic cancelled out Gareth Bale's first-half opener as Serbia held Wales to a 1-1 draw in their 2018 World Cup Qualifying Group D fixture at the Cardiff City Stadium.

  • Wales 1 Serbia 1
  • Bale opens scoring
  • Dragons lead at half-time
  • Mitrovic nets late equaliser

Match summary

Gareth Bale's first half goal looked likely to be the only goal of the game in a poor European World Cup Qualifying fixture but Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic had other ideas late on.

Full report

The opening ten minutes, both sides failed to hold control of possession well with high pressing tactical set-ups countering each other out.

However, star midfield duo Garth Bale and Aaron Ramsey combined well to fashion out the opening chance of the game. 

The Arsenal man glided easily past two defenders before setting Bale up for the shot, on the run – but the rasping effort went just over the post.

Branislav Ivanovic thought he give his side the lead a few minutes later when he attacked a brilliantly worked corner kick but his downwards header was cleared off the line by left-back Neil Taylor.

That last ditched defending proved to be crucial on the half-hour mark when striker Hal Robson Kanu chased down an aimless through ball – which resulted in Matija Nastasic being dispossessed by the West Brom forward.

A simple lay-off to a galloping Gareth Bale saw Wales golden boy strike a sweet low shot from the edge of the box past a full stretched Vlad Stojkovic.

Just after opening the scoring Robson Kanu nearly headed in a second as the home support created a crescendo of noise around the City Stadium.

Just before the break midfielder Nemanja Matic shifted the ball on to his left foot, 25 yards from goal before stinging the palms of Wayne Hennessey.

Serbia had a couple of half chances but Wales deservedly went into the break with their slender lead.

The second half saw the Dragons lose control of the game, with Dusan Tadic pushing their back line into panic with some wicked deliveries from the flanks but the fixture became a bit heated with rash challenges flying all over the place.

One of those challenges lead to Gareth Bale lining up one of his trademark free kicks from distance, but his 'knuckleball' effort at goal was comfortably saved by Stojkovic.

With Wales defending deep the game lost all it's excitement till the last five minutes when Bale almost doubled his sides lead.

Aaron Ramsey sent the forward in on goal, on his right foot and with a tough angle, he hit it first time, across goal, and off the inside of the post – with strike partner Tom Lawrence close to converting the rebound.

Not even a minute later, Orlovi ran the full lenght of the pitch with  Aleksandar Mitrovic beating his marker James Chester, meeting  Antonio Rukavina's whipped cross to smash a header in off the post and level matters.

Serbia retained second spot with the result while Wales are in thrid, four points behind leaders Ireland.