Gareth Bale: I told Ben Woodburn to turn down England

Woodburn’s superb debut goal has given Wales a chance of making the play-offs

Wales boosted their chances of reaching next summer's World Cup in Russian Federation with a 2-0 win in Moldova inspired by another electrifying cameo from Liverpool teenager Ben Woodburn.

Wales enjoyed 72% possession but struggled to break down a Moldova side rooted firmly to the bottom of Group D until Hal Robson-Kanu's 80th minute header broke the deadlock.

The winger scored a dramatic victor against Austria five minutes after coming off the bench and put the ball on a plate for Robson-Kanu to score a crucial goal in Chisinau three days later.

Group leaders Serbia are four points better off ahead of their game with the Republic in Dublin on Tuesday.

Showing composure and awareness that belies both his age and experience, Woodburn looked up and struck the ball cleanly with his right boot, the ball flying past Austrian keeper Lindner into the back of the net, and sending Wales into absolute raptures.

Chris Coleman's side dominated for long periods in Chisinau but were missing the final touch to punish Group D's whipping boys.

Coleman's faith in the boldness of Woodburn's youth paid dividends, and if Austria fancied their chances of pegging Wales back, then they were given short shrift by the team's defensive effort.




First, Bale's acrobatic overhead effort was superbly clawed away by Lindner before Hal Robson-Kanu's drive clipped the base of the post with virtually the final kick of the game.

"We have to do the same again in Moldova (on Tuesday)".

Moldova, however, weren't going to go down without a fight and poor defending from Wales nearly led to Radu Ginsari poking home, but luckily for Wales, the chance went begging for the hosts.

Aaron Ramsey's deflected shot helped Wales overcome a stubborn Moldova to keep their World Cup qualification dream alive.

Already the scorer of four goals throughout qualification, Bale always seemed likeliest to end the wait for an opener and the winger's long-range shot nearly drew a costly spill from Cebanu after the restart. They can be hard to break down and to find the last team to score four goals against them as Wales did past year, you have to go back to 2013, when England beat them in a World Cup qualifier. He's trying to convince everyone he's got a great squad but they need to prove it on the pitch.

Woodburn has certainly shown a lot of promised and has been touted as a possible superstar for the future.

Woodburn, 17, made his senior bow for Wales in their crucial 2018 World Cup qualifying clash with Austria in Cardiff when he appeared as a second-half substitute.

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