Russia deny brave Wales
Pavel Pogrebnyak's late strike denied Wales a point as Russia won 2-1 in Moscow.
Last Updated: 10/09/08 7:16pm
Substitute Pavel Pogrebnyak's late strike denied Wales a point as Russia edged them out 2-1 in Moscow in their World Cup qualifier.
John Toshack's men looked good for a point after Joe Ledley's strike midway through the second-half cancelled out Roman Pavlyuchenko's first-half penalty.
Russia grabbed the winner nine minutes from time when Konstatin Zyrianov saw his header from Andrei Arshavin's cross brilliantly kept out by Wayne Hennessey, but unfortunately for the Wales keeper Pogrebnyak was on hand to smash home the rebound.
Wales wasted a great chance to break the deadlock on 15 minutes when they won a penalty after Gareth Bale was tripped by Russia skipper Sergei Semak inside the box.
Bale stepped up to take the penalty, but saw his effort superbly saved by Russia keeper Igor Akinfeev as Wales missed their second penalty in two games.
Things got worse for Wales on 22 minutes when Bale's new Tottenham team-mate Pavlyuchenko scored from the spot after Carl Robinson tripped Zyrianov inside the box.
Ledley deservedly drew Wales level on 67 minutes with his second goal for his country, only for Pogrebnyak to deny them a famous result with his late winner.
Wales' intentions were obvious from the start as they defended 10 yards inside their own half and looked to run themselves ragged for the cause.
But there was instantly a flow, even swagger, about Russia as the ball sped from flank to flank. Wayne Hennessey was in for a busy night, and his first save was a fine point-blank effort to block Pavlyuchenko's fierce effort after 14 minutes.
PenaltyBut the first time Wales got into Russia's box, they were given a gift of a chance to take the lead.
Gareth Bale was tripped by Russia skipper Sergei Semak, and for the second game on the trot, Wales missed a penalty.
Bale took the spot-kick himself after 15 minutes, but Igor Akinfeev flung himself to his right to palm the effort round the post.
Russia then won a penalty of their own and Pavyluchenko made no mistake.
Goalkeeper Hennessey kept a ball in play which would have resulted in a corner for the hosts, and as the action continued the ball came to Konstantin Zyryanov, whose change of direction caught out Robinson and drew a foul.
Bale's new Spurs team-mate stepped up and chipped the ball down the middle to put Russia 1-0 up.
Ashley Williams was booked two minutes into the second period for a trip as the visitors immediately came under pressure again.
Pavlyuchenko saw a 20-yard strike deflect wide off Craig Morgan but Wales were bravely trying to come forward, with David Edwards heading over from a Chris Gunter cross before Simon Davies got in on the right to shoot wide.
Gaps were appearing at the back as Wales pushed forward and Arshavin headed narrowly over from Semak's cross.
EqualiserHowever, the next goal came at the other end. Bale surged into the box on the right, got to the line and pulled the ball back for Ledley to grab his second goal for his country.
Edwards was booked for a foul and Ricketts for time-wasting while Russia sent on an extra striker in Pavel Pogrebnyak for Semak.
But with 10 minutes left Russia got the decisive third goal of the game to break Wales' hearts.Arshavin crossed from the left and although Hennessey made a fine save from Zyrianov's header, Pogrebnyak drove home as the ball bounced to him.
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