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Wales do just enough in Estonia to win 1-0
Monday, 11th Oct 2021 22:29 by Gruff Stephens

Wales continued to press for second place in Estonia despite a tepid and mundane performance after going ahead in Tallinn. With the promise of attacking football and a positive mindset to secure the points, what we saw, and what we heard pre match were two very different things. But enough was done on the night, and the result means two huge games for Wales next month.

Throughout this game Wales failed to retain possession after a decent start in Tallinn. Clearly dropped points tonight would result in the Czech Republic being favourites for second place in Group E. The Czech’s did their bit beating Belarus and all eyes were on Wales who were clearly struggling to keep their 1-0 lead in front of a very healthy and vociferous Wales support.

Kieffer Moore wrongly booked and is out for the next game

Ex swans Dan James and Connor Roberts started the game brightly, Roberts causing no end of problems on the Estonian left, with James busy and productive. An early goal was what Wales wanted and an early goal was what they got. It doesn’t matter how they go in, but the fact that this effort did, and Kieffer Moore’s scrambled effort was enough to put Wales one up.

Excellent efforts on goal from Connor Roberts and Harry Wilson in the first twenty minutes signalled Wales intent before Wales scored on twelve minutes. It was no more than the team in red deserved. However, after that the promise by manager Rob Page of an exciting Wales performance just didn’t materialise.The passing got sloppy with Joe Rodon saving Wilson’s blushes after a terrible back pass.

The Swiss referee started to buy into numerous Estonian attempts to gain free kicks, and the bookings for Joe Allen ( warranted) but for Zorba Thomas and Kieffer Moore they were absolutely incorrect, and extremely frustrating.

Joe Rodon, solid and dependable in Tallinn

The second half saw Estonia press on and put the Wales defence under pressure from dead balls. Danny Ward towards the end pulled off a stunning save from a shot that was goal bound. The second a well placed header comfortably saved again. The fifty fifty balls were not being won. When Moore did put the effort in he was booked through excessive use of his elbows, and now misses the next game against Belarus.

Post match Aaron Ramsey admitted the second half wasn’t good enough. “The first thirty minutes we were excellent, but what happened after that I just don’t know. It’s just important that we came here and got the three points, These games aren’t always easy, it was very tough. it’s a sign of how much graft this side can put in”

Danny Ward was relieved post match “ This was a rough game, they have real intensity, it wasn’t pretty but it ended up in a victory, that’s how it is. This was a very difficult game to come in to, we are strong and we are lucky no that regard. As a group we want to win every game, tonight’s win was massive. We had to win. The Wales fans for me they are the best fans in the world, I took the mistake on the chin last week, That’s what being a goalkeeper is all about, but the Wales fans have been brilliant”

Wales have two games left, both at home in November, the first against Belarus, and then the final game against Belgium who by then will be expected to be group winners. Four or more points from those remaining two matches against Belarus and Belgium will guarantee that Wales finish second. Of course, they may not even need that much, but that's the lowest tally that will be one hundred percent enough. The Czechs take on Estonia in their final outing next month.

“We did cause our own problems giving the ball away, we needed a second goal, it was an anxious time, said Wales manager Rob Page. “Aaron had to come off, he hasn’t played for months. I spoke to the fourth official about the penalty incident, I couldn’t understand why the defender was booked but we didn’t get anything. We have two cup finals in November, we need everyone fit in the camp, and everyone raring to go”

A well deserved applause for the red wall

Estonia: Hein; Teniste (Ojamaa 75), Kuusk (C), Tamm, Paskotsi, Pikk (Sinyavskiy 57); Poom, Mets, Kait (Kallaste 82); Zenjov (Vastsuk 82), Sorga (Kirss 82).

Subs not used: Igonen, Vallner, Lukka, Purg.

Yellow cards: Pikk 24, Kait 31, Kuusk 59

Wales: Ward; Mepham, Rodon, Ampadu; Roberts (Gunter 83), Allen, Thomas; Ramsey (C) (Morrell 79), Wilson (Johnson 83); James, Moore (Harris 70).

Subs not used: Hennessey, A Davies, N Williams, Lawrence, T Roberts, J Williams, Vaulks, Cabango.

Goal: Moore 12

Yellow cards: Wilson 35, Thomas 55, Allen 68

Referee: Sandro Scharer 4/10

Attendance: 5,118

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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