Wales hold Belgium to draw to secure home play-off tie
WALES secured a home play-off semi-final tie as they held Belgium to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night (Nov 16).
It means Wales are now a step closer to sealing their place in a World Cup for the first time in over 60 years.
Belgium did not have Romelu Lukaku in their team while Gareth Bale was not in the Wales squad.
Kevin De Bruyne put the Belgians ahead after 12 minutes with a neat curling finish into the bottom corner.
Wales equalised shortly after the half hour when a cross into the box wasn’t cleared and controlled by Kieffer Moore and he fired into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.
Thorgan Hazard came close for Belgium but his strong volley went out off the post.
It remained level at the break with Wales knowing they were in a strong position.
Early in the second half Joe Morrell tried his luck from long range but the Belgian keeper made a comfortable save.
There was a nasty clash of heads between Aaron Ramsey and Neco Williams following some miss-communication. Ramsey got up almost straight away while Williams took some treatment on field before also getting up and carrying on.
There was more good play by Wales as they forced Belgium into a number of mistakes with their pressing.
Dan James then set up Neco Williams but he saw his shot blocked before the ball went out of play.
After a miss-placed pass by the Belgians the ball was played to Moore on the edge of the box who made space for himself but a great tackle by the recovering defender prevented a goal.
Moore then jumped to challenge for the ball with Belgium’s Axel Witsel but the Cardiff City striker was penalised once again and shown the yellow card for leading with his arm.
With eight minutes to go Williams picked the ball up on the left and cut in before shooting toward goal but Belgian keeper Casteels did well to tip it round the post for a corner.
Belgium attacked late on as they looked for a winner but Wales coped well with what they had to throw at them.
Six minutes were added on at the end of the 90 with Wales also bringing on Nottingham Forest’s Brennan Johnson in place of Aaron Ramsey.
He was unable to help Wales find a winner but it did not matter as the 32,000-strong crowd celebrated a fine result against the World’s number 1 ranked side on the final whistle.
It means that Wales will be seeded for their World Cup play-off semi-final tie. The draw for the play offs will take place on Friday, November 26.
Wales’ potential opponents include Austria, North Macedonia, Turkey, Poland, Ukraine or the Czech Republic.
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