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Wales v Finland – 16th November 2013

Wales v Finland – 16th November 2013

Riku Riski (2nd L) scores for Finland

Wales were denied a morale-boosting win as Riku Riski scored a late equaliser for Finland in their Cardiff friendly.

When Andy King was set up by Hal Robson-Kanu’s deep cross to head home, Wales manager Chris Coleman was set to celebrate his new contract with a win.

But in the last few moments at Cardiff City Stadium, a lapse of concentration let Riski burst through and score.

Gareth Bale went closest to adding to Wales’ tally, while Teemu Pukki hit the post early on for the visitors.

Coleman ended weeks of speculation about his future by agreeing a new two-year deal on Friday and would have hoped for a more auspicious start to the new chapter of his career as Wales boss.

His reign has been marred by player withdrawals and Saturday’s game proved no different, with James Collins pulling out injured and Aaron Ramsey falling ill prior to kick-off.

Coleman’s Wales record


16 Nov: Wales 1-1 Finland

15 Oct: Belgium 1-1 Wales

11 Oct: Wales 1-0 Macedonia

10 Sept: Wales 0-3 Serbia

6 Sept: Macedonia 2-1 Wales

14 Aug: Wales 0-0 Rep Ireland

26 Mar: Wales 1-2 Croatia

22 Mar: Scotland 1-2 Wales

6 Feb: Wales 2-1 Austria


16 Oct: Croatia 2-0 Wales

12 Oct: Wales 2-1 Scotland

11 Sept: Serbia 6-1 Wales

7 Sept: Wales 0-2 Belgium

15 Aug: Wales 0-2 Bosnia-Hercogovina

27 May: Mexico 2-0 Wales

The absence of the in-form Ramsey denied the modest crowd of 11,809 the chance to see the Arsenal star alongside Liverpool’s Joe Allen – back after his long-term injury frustrations – and Bale, the world’s most expensive player.

Bale, playing in a wide attacking role, was heavily marked from the start and the Real Madrid man pulled up after a challenge from Jere Uronen before being left clutching his ankle after a poor tackle from the same player.

After treatment and some nervous looks from the bench, Bale was able to carry on.

Wales’ good fortune continued when Pukki picked up a rebound in the home penalty area but shot against the far post with Wayne Hennessey beaten.

But in a low-key first half the rest of the chances fell to Wales, both created by Bale.

First Robson-Kanu peeled away to the back post in a smart training-ground move but saw his header from Bale’s free-kick well saved by Lukas Hradecky.

Then Bale broke away down the left only to see his dangerous low cross bisect Simon Church and Joe Ledley, winning his 50th cap, in the area.

Hradecky was called into action soon after the break as Bale, this time popping up on the right, drove diagonally towards the Finnish goal before unleashing a pile-driver the Brondby keeper beat away.

Church went tumbling in the Finnish area but, despite a strong appeal for a penalty, was waved to his feet by Belgian referee Sebastian Delferiere.

Given Bale’s influence, it was surprising that when Wales broke the deadlock the former Tottenham man was not involved.

Ledley picked out Robson-Kanu advancing down the left and the Reading man stood the ball up at the far post for King, timing his late arrival to perfection, to head home.

Wales were indebted to Hennessey for preserving their lead when he stretched full length to push Riski’s goalbound effort around the post, while the Honefoss midfielder should have tested the Wales keeper again but shot wastefully into the side-netting.

King almost grabbed a second as he threw himself at full-back Chris Gunter’s pacy low cross but saw the ball just nipped off his toe.

But with a win in their grasp, Wales squandered their hard-won lead in time added on as Roman Eremenko was allowed to pick up a loose ball and send Riski darting away between the home centre-backs before clipping the ball past Hennessey.

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