By Shaun Davey
A late header unfortunately denied the Welsh from grabbing all three points in a vitally important match in Group D of World Cup qualifying. The game in truth was dominated with stoppages both from the players and the referee and never really got going.
However, after holding out for so long through a Gareth Bale solo strike, Wales will be bitterly disappointed not to see out for what would have been a vital three points in qualification for Russia 2018.
Wales currently lie third in the group with six points just behind Serbia in second, with the Republic of Ireland topping the group on ten points. The Irish are Wales’ next opponents next March in what looks like a hugely important crunch match between the nations in Dublin.
The outcome of that encounter will certainly go close in deciding who will qualify come next October.
We exclusively caught up with players from both sides after the game. Dusan Tadic believed it was a tough game at the Cardiff City Stadium, he said: “The game was really difficult. We wanted to come here and get the three points but in the end it was a really important point for us.
“We knew from the beginning that it would be a really tight group and that everyone can beat each other but you never know who will come out first and second so its all to play for.”
The Southampton playmaker commented on his injury after he was struck by a stray Neil Taylor boot, adding: “I might have broken my nose, but it does not matter, I couldn’t see so many things on the pitch, but I wanted to play on. I think this was an important game for the team so I did not want to let my teammates down. When you play an international game you just want to fight for your country and try to give the best.”
Tadic joked that the injury wasn’t too bad, smirking: “After the game he asked me how I was, but it’s fine; we already beat them (Swansea) so there will be no revenge; we fly to Ukraine for the next game but I will not go to hospital, Serbian people are not so soft.”
Crystal Palace ace Joe Ledley explained his disappointment that Wales threw away the lead for the second time in as many matches, he said: “We are obviously devastated not to come away with the three points. We think we deserved the three points, but that’s football we need to learn from this and we are still undefeated, not many teams are going to beat us and we need to take that form going through and get three points in Ireland which is going to be a big ask.”
He added: “The game was always going to be tough in this competition. A few years ago we lost 6-1 to Serbia so it just proves how well Wales have done so far. There were more positives in that game than negatives. They did not look like hurting us at all. They had one chance and it went in, we just need to learn how to see a game out. As I say there are a lot of positives to take from the game and we will look forward too March.”