Wales battled back from a dramatic Danny Ward own goal to get a 2-2 draw against the Czech Republic in Prague.
Aaron Ramsey’s return gave Wales a 36th-minute lead, but Jakub Pesek promptly equalized after Ward failed to gather Filip Novak’s attempt.
Ward was left even more red-faced four minutes after the restart when he miscontrolled Ramsey’s backpass and finished the Czechs’ second goal. Daniel James, however, won the point Wales deserved in an exciting battle.
Wales and the Czech Republic are now tied for eighth place in the runway group with Belgium – and the Dragons still have a game in hand. Wales were without talismanic captain Gareth Bale, who had missed the previous international camp due to a significant hamstring injury.
Bale, Wales’ all-time leading scorer, was the only Dragons player to register a hat-trick in the Dragons’ previous five games, including a match-winning hat-trick against Belarus.
However, the visitors were boosted by the return of Kieffer Moore and Ramsey, with the Juventus midfielder taking over from Bale.
Moore was the only player in Wales’ starting lineup this season to score – and that came nearly two months ago on August 14.
Wales had defeated the Czech Republic at home in March to close the gap on second place, and knew that failure in Prague would almost certainly leave them depending on their 2020 Nations League results to qualify for March’s World Cup play-offs.
The Czech Republic were without injured West Ham defender Vladimir Coufal, but Patrik Schick returned to head the attack. Schick was co-top scorer at this summer’s Euro 2020, helping Jaroslav Silhavy’s side reach the quarter-finals.
Wales players took their customary pre-match knee in protest against racism, and were roundly booed by home fans.
Wales manager Robert Page chose a 3-5-2 shape, with Moore and James leading the line and Ramsey providing quick assistance from an advanced midfield position.
Ramsey’s influence was immediately known when he collided with Novak after 13 seconds, earning him a yellow card.
Wales was able to escape as Ward deflected Pesek’s low drive and Neco Williams completed the clearance.
Nevertheless, Wales – and Ramsey in particular – probed and threatened relentlessly during an enthralling first half.
A defensive mix-up allowed James to advance before shooting wide, and an even better chance came after 18 minutes when Ramsey freed James and Wales squandered a two-on-one situation – James hesitated before feeding Moore, who was still favourite to beat the onrushing Vaclik but fell short.
Schick’s deflected shot flew over the crossbar before Wales converted a Czech Republic corner.
Williams played his cross into a dangerous position after Ethan Ampadu led a quick break. James was unable to get a touch on the ball, but Ramsey was sprinting in behind and wonderfully sat down Vaclik before slotting in his 18th international goal.
The lead lasted less than a minute as Novak raced through the Wales defense and Ward blocked away a shot that appeared to be errant.
Williams stumbled at the wrong time, and Pesek snatched the ball away from an open goal.
Worse was yet to come for Ward, as his lapse of focus resulted in him tapping the ball against the post. Leicester’s goalie made a desperate attempt to reclaim the position, but both he and the ball ended up in the net.
Wales were on the ropes, but Page made a clever double substitute, replacing Chris Gunter and Joe Morrell with Connor Roberts and Harry Wilson.
Wilson slipped in James, and his superb lofted finish beat Vaclik and was upheld by VAR.
Late in the race, Moore and Ramsey came close to winning it for Wales, but a tense struggle ended all square, with the race for second place set to go to the line.
Who is Daniel James?
Daniel James is a famous Soccer Player, who was born on November 10, 1997 in United Kingdom.
|Date of Birth||November 10, 1997|
|Place of Birth||Kingston Upon Hull|
|Age||23 Years old|
|Net Worth||$1.5 Million|
|Source of Income||Soccer Player|
|Height||5 Ft 7 In|