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Wales one step closer to World Cup qualification with win over Austria

WALES moved one step closer to qualification for the 2022 World Cup as they beat Austria 2-1 at a sold out Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday night (Mar 24).

They will now go on to face the winner of the tie between Scotland and Ukraine. That game has been delayed until June because of the crisis in Ukraine.

There was an early scare for Wales as Christoph Baumgartner was played through but his shot was deflected onto the bar.

Wales then had a chance as Dan James crossed to the back post but Aaron Ramsey was inches away from connecting.

Neco Williams was next to try his luck but his weak effort was easily saved. Moments later, Williams sent a cross into the box but Aaron Ramsey headed wide.

Midway through the first half Harry Wilson was fouled on the edge of the box. Gareth Bale stepped up and fired an unstoppable effort into the top right corner of the net, off the underside of the bar.

Austria were still a threat but Marko Arnautovic headed a difficult chance wide.

He was then sent free but a heavy touch presented Wayne Hennessey the chance to gather the ball.

On 40 minutes, Ramsey was sent clear but his shot was pushed wide into the side netting by the Austrian keeper.

Austria started the second half well but Wales were able to deal with the pressure.

However, it was Wales who scored next as a short corner found its way to Bale in the box who took a touch and fired back across goal.

Austria then had a free kick on the edge of the D but David Alaba sent his effort straight into the wall.

Bale was then sent free down the right and he ran into the box but he scuffed his shot high and wide.

Just a minute later Austria were back in it as Marcel Sabitzer’s shot deflected into the net off Ben Davies.

Ramsey then lofted the ball through for Dan James but his effort was saved.

James was next to go through on goal but he was unable to get a shot away because of a last-ditch tackle.

With eighteen minutes to go, Wales were given another free kick, in a similar position to that of Bale’s first goal. This time Bale’s shot hit the wall.

There was another chance for Austria but Andreas Weimann’s acrobatic effort went over the bar.

With three minutes to go Dan James was replaced by Nottingham Forest star Brennan Johnson.

Ramsey then wasted a free kick opportunity from wide on the left as he scooped the ball over the bar.

Four minutes of added time were shown and Austria looked for a late equaliser.

After seeing a shot deflect off him for Austria’s first goal Davies was then the hero as he cleared a shot away.

Still on a hat trick, Bale went for a spectacular effort but was off target and that proved to be his last action as he was replaced by Chris Mepham.

As the clock ticked down Austria sent the ball into the box but Wales cleared.

Brennan Johnson then tried his luck but it went wide of the target. It mattered little though as that was the last of the action.

Wales will now wait to find out their opponent for their final play-off game, with the winner of that game qualifying for the World Cup.