Super Harry Wilson free kick gives Wales 1-0 win over Ireland

Republic of Ireland 0 Wales 1

It was 4-1 to Wales the last time the sides met in Cardiff, this time around it was 1-0 to Ryan Giggs’ side as Harry Wilson’s expertly taken free kick was the difference between the teams.

Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland side hosted Wales at the Aviva Stadium in the UEFA Nations League on Tuesday night still searching for a victory in the tournament.

A positive opening fifteen minutes from Ireland, who kept possession and played at a higher tempo than against Denmark last Saturday night, saw much of the action concentrated in the Welsh half.

Cyrus Christie had the best effort of the opening 45 minutes to break the deadlock when shooting from close range. Matthew Smith failed to clear Welsh lines from the edge of the visitors’ box, as Christie won possession. The Irishman shot early as Wayne Hennessy between the Welsh posts got into position to palm the ball out for a corner. The keeper later dealt easily with a header on target from Shane Duffy, the home side’s only other effort before the interval.

Similar to the game against Denmark, Ireland then found themselves chasing possession for much of the remainder of the opening half, as the urgency and intensity dissipated.

A side foot from Tyler Roberts in the 35th minute was the first, and only, effort Wales had on target in the first half, but Darren Randolph comfortably dealt with it.

Wales broke the deadlock in the 58th minute, when Harry Arter gave away a free kick on the edge of the box. Harry Wilson kicked the ball beautifully over the Irish wall and into the net from 20 yards, to the right of Randolph, who failed to move.

Jeff Hendrick’s shot directly at Hennessy in the Welsh goal in the 66th minute was Ireland’s only serious effort of the second half, at a stage when Martin O’Neill’s side was a goal down.

Ireland soon had Seánie Maguire, Shane Long and Scott Hogan on the field as O’Neill threw everything at achieving a result from this game.

Wales could have doubled their advantage but for a James McClean clearance, yards from the line. With McClean picking up a yellow card for a cynical foul during the game, his second of the tournament, means the Derryman will now miss the game against Denmark in Aarhus next month.

Wales may have been without their star player Gareth Bale but they still has enough to get an away win in Dublin and leave the Republic of Ireland bottom of their pool. Just one point for Ireland from two home games will increase the pressure on Martin O’Neill as more questions will now be asked about the Irish manager’s future.

Republic of Ireland:
Darren Randolph, Matthew Doherty, Cyrus Christie, Shane Duffy, James McClean, Jeff Hendrick, Callum Robinson (Seánie Maguire 60’), Aiden O’Brien (Shane Long 56’), Richard Keogh (captain), Kevin Long (Scott Hogan 75’), Harry Arter.

Wales:
Wayne Hennessy, Ben Davies, James Chester, Ashley Williams (captain), Joe Allen, Tom Lawrence, Connor Roberts, David Brooks, Harry Wilson, Tyler Roberts, Matthew Smith.

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (NED).

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