Despite a determined display from their Ukrainian counterparts, who had the better chances and far more of the ball, Wales reach just their second-ever World Cup finals on a memorable day in Cardiff – they are heading to Qatar!
Tears are shed by the beaten side in the driving rain, as all their attempts to find a way past Hennessey come to nothing, but a rousing reception from the away fans is certainly well earned.
A day of contrasting emotions ends with the Dragons belatedly joining Group B, where they will face the USA on the tournament’s opening day.
WALES (3-5-2): Wayne Hennessey; Ethan Ampadu, Joe Rodon, Ben Davies; Connor Roberts, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Daniel James, Neco Williams; Kieffer Moore, Gareth Bale.
UKRAINE (4-1-4-1): Georgi Bushchan; Oleksandr Karavaev, Illia Zabarnyi, Mykola Matvyenko, Vitalii Mykolenko; Taras Stepanenko; Andriy Yarmolenko, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ruslan Malinovskyi, Viktor Tsygankov; Roman Yaremchuk.
WALES GO AHEAD! Against the run of play, the Dragons roar into the lead! Both captains are involved, as Bale drives a dangerous free-kick towards goal from the left side of the area and Yarmolenko can only deflect the ball past Bushchan with a diving header! It’s Wales 1-0 Ukraine, with half-time looming on the horizon.
Bale, though, would not be denied his moment, and it was entirely fitting that he would play an integral part in the decisive goal.
So, what’s next?
Both sides must soon recover from this intense struggle for a place in Qatar, as they are required to fulfil their Nations League fixtures in the coming week: World Cup finalists Wales meet the Netherlands in midweek, while beaten Ukraine travel on to Dublin.
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