It’s out of your hands now Rob : Golden opportunity missed
Saturday, 18th Nov 2023 17:12 by Dennis Evans
An out of sorts and restricted Wales played out a 1-1 draw in Yerevan, Armenia this afternoon and were extremely lucky to get a point after second half Armenian pressure from their hosts.
Over zealous policing last night and a shoddy performance will be the talking points this weekend, and once again question marks over Rob Page’s ability to coach and manage at this level will be raised. Thirty two Wales followers were detained in the city late last night for ‘allegedly’ singing after 11pm whilst several bars were blasting out karaoke - and a disturbing incident involving a female fan was reported. Allegedly her taxi driver got in the back seat with her and asked for sexual favours in lieu of her paying her fare. Onnthe multiple arrests situation, Lefi Gruffudd said. "The three of us were walking back towards the hotel last night quite late and police cars came straight up to us, took us into their cars, arrested us, kept us in custody until half past three this afternoon”
Wales no longer have their destiny in their own hands. Should Croatia win in Latvia tonight, then follow up that result with victory over Armenia in Zagreb on Tuesday, they qualify automatically for Euro 2024. Wales, who host Turkey on the same evening, are not guaranteed a play-off place. Armenia meanwhile will be unable to qualify should Croatia win this evening. The draw was the result neither team wanted, but it was a fair one on the night. Wales were the better side in the first half, but Armenia were the more likely winners in the second, and came very close when Vahan Bichakhchyan hit the underside of the bar. Edgar Sevikyan had a huge chance to settle it just before the end as well. Lucas Zelarayán’s early goal was also a peach. Wales can have few complaints.
However, there will be complaints from the travelling Red Wall who witnessed a very poor effort from their team who at no point looked like victors in this fixture. Especially with the firepower and talent at his disposal. Chris Mepham picked up a yellow card which means he is out of Tuesdays home game against Turkey. Tempers flared with yellow cards shown to players on both teams and, just as Wales seemed to be settling and quietening the crowd a little, Bichakchyan rattled the crossbar to swing the momentum back in Armenia's direction. Wales brought on Brennan Johnson and Daniel James in the hope that their pace and direct running could help conjure the winning goal, but they were still lacking in the final third. Armenia goalkeeper Ognjen Cancarevic was comfortable in saving from James, Moore and Ethan Ampadu, and Wales brought on another attacker in Nathan Broadhead as Page went all out for victory. Or that was what it seemed.
If Croatia win tonight in Latvia, ( they did 2-0 ) and that was very much expected then even a Wales win will not now guarantee qualification. This has been an astonishingly poorly managed campaign from Rob Page.His tactics don’t seem to fit with the desires of the large fanbase. Today was proof if it was ever needed. It’s all been too little too late as the whole automatic qualification process means it’s out of Wales hands, and for that Rob Page has to take full responsibility.
⚽️ Armenia: Chancharevich (6), Calisir (6), Haroyan (7), Iwu (6), Spertsyan (7), Zelarayan (8), Ranos (6), Bichakhchyan (7), Dashyan (6), Tiknizyan (7), Arutiunian (6).
Subs: Sevikyan (7), Miranyan (6), Harutyunyan (6)
⚽️ Wales: Ward (7), N. Williams (7), Davies (6), Mepham (6), Rodon (7), J. James (6), Brooks (6), Ampadu (6), Roberts (7), Wilson (5), Moore (5).
Subs: Johnson (4), D. James (6), Broadhead (n/a)
We would normally look for a Wales star man but sadly none deserved any recognition.
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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