More realistic than Ukraine, Wales snatched their ticket for the second World Cup in their history on Sunday, 64 years later. More playful, Zbirna stumbled on an exceptional Wayne Hennessey who disgusted the Ukrainian attackers.
Wales 1-0 Ukraine
Goal: Yarmolenko (34ecsc) for the Welsh
64 years later, Wales will rediscover the joys of playing in a World Cup. 64 years after their 1-0 defeat on a goal by Pelé in the quarter-finals, against the future Brazilian winner, the Welsh will finally be able to sing Land of my Fathers ahead of a World Cup match. For that, they had to release very good Ukrainians this Sunday in Cardiff. Yet more convincing and attractive in the game, the Ukrainian selection came up against an excellent Hennessey. The goalkeeper was, in fact, the big man of this qualification. With Gareth Bale, of course, behind the goal.
Gareth Bale, of course
Contrary to what they did last Wednesday in Glasgow, the Ukrainians took direct control of the match and did not allow themselves to be cornered. On the contrary, they are the ones who put the pressure. Zinchenko, for example, competes in ingenuity by propelling a distant free kick into Hennessey’s goal, when no one is ready. Not even the referee, who had not blown his whistle and therefore canceled the audacity of the Manchester City player (3e). But the scene is set, and the Zbirna will copiously go into the bacon of his opponent. Finally, rather in that of Hennessey. Because the Welsh goalkeeper, who is solicited on a blocked and vicious shot (9e), won his head-to-head against Yaremchuk (12e). The visitors clearly dominate their subject and Karavaev, missing his recovery in the box, cannot reward this good start (22e).
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Finally, the trend of this early game is summed up by Zinchenko: the Manchester City player scratches a ball at Allen’s feet, but his heavy shot is repelled by Hennessey, the man from Wales until then. However, the man the whole country is waiting for will put himself in the spotlight: discreet as if he were playing for Real, Gareth Bale hits a free kick from 30 meters whose unspectacular trajectory pushes Yarmolenko to clear with his head. .. Nice try, but he actually cheats his own keeper and allows Cardiff to explode in the rain (1-0, 34e). UEFA rightly decide to award the goal to the Ukrainian. Still, the Welsh give full credit to their star, for what could have been his last game.
The bottle of Hennessey
Already better at the end of the first period, the Dragons approach the second act in the same dynamic. Daniel James launches a Moore who makes the right choice by giving back to Ramsey, but the Glasgow Rangers player is completely missing (48e). What does not cool locals continuing to push, until Yarmolenko finds a good shift towards Mykolenko on the left who crosses very low to the ground for Tsygankov. Again, Hennessey pushes back into the feet of Yaremchuk who can’t frame (55e). From there, the Welsh fell back and cleared as best they could. Ukrainian transmissions, they are no longer as licked as in the first half. Overall, the pace drops. Until the occasion of Johnson, who found the post after a cross from the right (75e). In the aftermath, it was above all Gareth Bale – absolutely alone in the area – who came up against Bushchan and who missed the opportunity to seal the fate of this meeting (76e). Yarmolenko is not far from making him feel guilty immediately, but Hennessey still holds the house (77e). Evidenced by this extraordinary parade, on a point-blank header from Dovbyk (84e). The Zbirna No matter how hard she pushed, she couldn’t equalize and let Wales take this last European ticket for the World Cup. Big match, big joy and big disappointment.
Wales (4-4-2): Hennessey – Roberts, Davies, Rodon, Williams (Norrington-Davies, 90+3e) – Ampadu, Ramsey, Allen, James (Johnson, 71e) – Moore, Bale (Wilson, 83e). Coach: Robert Page.
Ukraine (4-3-3): Bushchan – Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Matvlienko, Mykolenko – Stepanenko (Sydorchuk, 70e), Malinovsky (Shaparenko, 70e), Zinchenko – Yarmolenko, Tsygankov (Mudryk, 77e), Yaremchuk (Dovbyk, 77e). Coach: Oleksandr Petrakov.
By Leo Peat