Oct 11, 2013 at 7.45pm UK at ‚ÄčMillennium Stadium
Wales
1-0
MacedoniaMacedonia
Church (67')
John (58'), Taylor (75')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Sikov (80')

Live Commentary: Wales 1-0 Macedonia - as it happened

Live Commentary: Wales 1-0 Macedonia - as it happened
© Getty Images
Sports Mole brings you live text commentary of tonight's World Cup qualifying Group B clash between Wales and Macedonia at the Millennium Stadium.

Wales needed to beat Macedonia in Cardiff this evening to give themselves a realistic chance of avoiding the wooden spoon in Group A of World Cup qualifying.

It was Craig Bellamy's final match at home in a Welsh shirt, and he set up the winner for Simon Church in the second half.

Aaron Ramsey also played a big part in the goal, although the occasion will be tinged with a bit of regret for the Arsenal midfielder as he missed a penalty late on.

Scroll down to read how events unfolded in Cardiff.


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6.46pmGood evening! Welcome to Sports Mole for live text commentary of tonight's penultimate World Cup qualifying match in Group B between Wales and Macedonia at the Cardiff City Stadium.

6.50pmWales sit bottom of Group A after eight games and simply must take three points tonight if they have any hopes of avoiding finishing last. Macedonia are only a point ahead but with Chris Coleman's side facing a trip to Belgium in their final match, a point tonight would go a long way to finishing seventh. However, they will go above Scotland should they take all three.

6.54pmWe have some team news from the Cardiff City Stadium...

6.55pmWALES: Hennesey, Taylor, John, Gunter, Collins, King, Vaughan, Ramsey, Robson-Kanu, Bellamy, Church

7pmAarom Ramsey was passed fit for the game yesterday and takes his place in midfield. Craig Bellamy starts in what will be his penultimate international appearance, whereas Cardiff City's 18-year-old defender Declan John makes his first.

7.02pmWALES BENCH: Myhill, Isgrove, Wilson, Richards, Alfei, Wilson, Tudur Jones, Cotterill, Easter, Fon Williams, Wiggins

7.04pmWe're still waiting on the official confirmation of the Macedonian team.

7.08pmIn the only previous meeting between the two sides was back in September when Wales lost 2-1 in Skopje. That night, Aaron Ramsey wiped out Ivan Trickovski's opener from the penalty spot in the first half but Aleksandar Trajkovski scored a late winner for the home side.

7.12pmThis evening's other match in Group A took place in Zagreb between Croatia and Belgium. Romelu Lukaku scored twice in the first half with the home side's only reply coming through Niko Kranjcar in the 83rd minute. That means that the Red Devils have qualified for Brazil 2014.

7.18pmGermany can also confirm their qualification with a win over the Republic of Ireland, but will qualify anyway if Sweden fail to beat Austria. A win against Albania will see Switzerland through from Group E, while Russia will be on the plane if they beat Luxembourg and Portugal lose against Israel.

7.22pmSports Mole is also bringing you coverage of Denmark vs. Italy, Germany vs. ROI, and England vs. Montenegro.

7.25pmMACEDONIA: Pacovski, Ristovski, Alioski, Noveski, Sikov; Stjepanovic, Demiri, Rangjelovic, Ibraimi, Pandev, Ivanovski

7.30pmThis will be Craig Bellamy's final home international, so it promises to be a special occasion. No doubt he'll want to put on one last big show, and on his day the Cardiff City forward is a handful for any defence. But will he be upstaged by Goran Pandev, who captains his side once again this evening. He's not been able to replicate the form he showed at Lazio for Inter Milan and Napoli but he's always a threat.

7.40pmThe players are about to emerge from the tunnel, so once we're done with all the pre-match rituals we'll be ready for kickoff in Cardiff.

7.42pmWales boss Chris Coleman talking to BBC Sport: "Tonight will be a bumpy ride, no doubt. We found out they were a decent team in Macedonia. We have a lot of changes, that is international football. The important thing is the boys we have here. It is good experience for them, and they will enjoy it more if they do their best. It is a good way for Craig Bellamy to end his international career as a Cardiff boy."

7.45pmA few Macedonian fans dotted around the crowd tonight in high spirits as they sing their national anthem. The gates aren't exactly bursting tonight.

7.49pmA minute's silence for Tegwyn Evans, the former president of the Welsh FA, is observed impeccably. Macedonia will now get the match underway...



4 minMacedonia have the first attack of the match, with Sikov trying to slip the ball through for Pandev, but the Napoli man was flagged offside. Collins was covering well, though.

7 minDisjointed start to the game, as neither team have kept the ball for very long. Wales have just strung together a few passes that saw Aaron Ramsey get to the byline, but he was challenged by Alioski. Hal Robson-Kanu showed nice feet in the build-up to keep possession, although it was his first touch that got him into trouble.

10 minNeither side have settled yet. Possession is very hurried. David Vaughan has started well though, he's tracking back and is always an option in midfield. He also looks the only one with any degree of composure.

13 minWales are having more of the ball, but only fractionally. They still haven't got into any dangerous areas. Macedonia spring into attack after Robson-Kanu is denied what he thinks is a penalty. It would have been soft. The visitors transition defence to attack in impressive speed but the move slows down in the final third.

14 minReplays show that Robson-Kanu may have had a case for a penalty. There was probably enough contact, but there is a question as to whether it was inside the area.

17 minMacedonia aren't very comfortable keeping possession. Wales are doing well to keep their shape and press as a team. Mirko Ivanovski is currently down with a bloody lip following an accidental clash with Robson-Kanu.

20 minWhen Wales press it's giving Macedonia more space to counter, so the action is flowing nicely at times, but it only seems to be when Macedonia attack. They just don;t have enough quality in the final third. Ivanovski dispossesses Vaughan in midfield and takes the ball forward before trying a chip from the edge of the area that was never an option. Never.

23 minSAVE! Taylor has the first effort on goal for Wales, and it was down to the good work of Robson-Kanu, who kept the ball in play before teeing up the Swansea City man. His left-footed effort was a comfortable one for Pacovski, though.

25 minCollins meets a corner from Ramsey at the near post but his flick towards goal is cleared at the near post by Alioski, although Pacovski was behind it as well.

28 minWales are controlling possession, Macedonia are struggling to play through them but remain a threat on the counter. The visitors have a free kick just inside the Welsh half that is drilled into the area. Hennessey comes out but flaps at it, conceding the corner.

29 minCHANCE! Big chance squandered for Macedonia! Gunter's clearance at the near post only got as far as Demiri, who floated the ball in to Noveski, who rounded Hennessey but smashed over the bar from close range! Glorious opportunity!

30 minPENALTY APPEAL! Robson-Kanu goes down inside the area and that looks like a penalty! The referee waves it away!

31 minCHANCE! Wales attack once again and the ball comes in for Church, but his near-post header misses the target. Great ball in from Declan John, it's an entertaining game at the moment!

33 minHal Robson-Kanu has been the danger man for Wales. He wins another corner, but Ramsey can't find a telling delivery.

37 minSAVE! Bellamy powers a shot at Pacovski, who doesn't deal with it very convincingly at all. He parries it upwards and catches it at the second attempt.

38 minCHANCE! The crowd are in full voice as Wales surge forward once more, with Ramsey slipping the ball through for Church. His shot is deflected behind for a corner.

39 minWales have had five corners so far this evening and have not been a threat from any of them.

43 minOnce again Macedonia break forward at speed only for the move to fall completely flat in the final third. This time is was Ibraimi who was guilty of a slack pass.

44 minCollins is down after a coming together with Hennessey when trying to clear a corner. He took a bit of a hit but he's up and moving again. No harm done.

45 minTwo minutes of added time to be played at the end of the first half.

8.36pmHALF TIME: Wales 0-0 Macedonia

8.38pmSo the first 45 minutes ends goalless at the Cardiff City Stadium. Wales are shading it so far but the best chance of the match fell to Noveski, who fired over from six yards out with two players protecting the line. Hal Robson-Kanu has seen two penalty appeals turned down, the latter of which looked nailed on.

8.42pmThe first of Robson-Kanu's penalty appeal looked just outside the area, but it's still a free kick that wasn't given. The second was from a challenge on the byline by Alioski. It was a clear penalty.

8.46pmWALES STATS:
Shots: 6
On target: 3
Possession: 52%
Corners: 6
Fouls: 6
Yellow: 0
Red: 0

8.47pmMACEDONIA STATS:
Shots: 6
On target: 1
Possession: 48%
Fouls: 4
Corners: 1
Yellow: 0
Red: 0

8.48pmClick here to Sports Mole's Half-Time Report from the Cardiff City Stadium.

45 minWales get the second half underway...

49 minSlow start to the second half, much like in the first. The break clearly didn't come at a good time for Wales. Macedonia are seeing a lot of the ball but Wales aren't really pressing with the same intensity, or as high up the pitch.

50 minOFF THE BAR! Nearly an opening goal from David Vaughan! He was allowed to wander into the Macedonian box and smash the ball off the woodwork. If he's honest with himself he'll admit it was a cross, though.

54 minDelightful layoff from Ramsey into the path of Declan John and the Cardiff City youngster's cross is blocked by the arm of Sikov. The referee doesn't award the free kick.

58 minBOOKING! John becomes the first man into the referee's book for a foul on Ristovski.

59 minDangerous move from Macedonia, with Ibraimi feeds Pandev, who teed up Ristovski... but Wales get enough men back to alleviate the threat.

62 minFreak moment as a high-hanging cross from John comes down into the top of the crossbar with Pacovski scrambling backwards. It's another corner to Wales, but another squandered. They've carried absolutely no threat from set pieces so far this evening.

65 minWales are struggling to break Macedonia down and create anything substantial at the moment. The movement of the first half isn't quite there. The visitors are the team most comfortable in possession at the moment, although they are also finding it difficult to create.

67 minGOAL! Wales 1-0 Macedonia (Church)

67 minBrilliant move by Wales! It was started when Ramsey turned his marker inside the Macedonian half and spotted the run of Bellamy down the right. The Arsenal man picked a fine pass for the retiring forward, who served the ball on a plate for Church to fire past Pacovski. Wonderful goal.

71 minThe driving force behind Wales at the moment is Ramsey. He's taken control of the midfield, and it was his excellent pass that sliced open the Macedonia defence.

72 minCHANCE! Brilliant chance for Macedonia to draw level, with Ristovski playing the ball into Pandev's feet. The Napoli man turns on a sixpence and fires straight at Hennessey.

75 minBOOKING! Taylor joins John in the book for a foul on Ivanovski.

75 minMACEDONIA SUB: Stjepanovic is going to make way for Tasevski.

77 minSAVE! Ibraimi heads at Hennessey's near post but the keeper gets down to make the save. There was little else the forward could have done with Demiri's drilled cross. Hennessey never looked troubled.

79 minBOOKING! Church does well to win a free kick high up the pitch, which Sikov gets cautioned for. Wales have the chance to move up from defence, and it will be Bellamy to deliver.

80 minNot a bad cross but it's beaten away by Pacovski. Ramsey does well to retain possession.

82 minNervy moment there for Wales, as a moment of defensive uncertainty sees Taylor nearly concede a penalty. The ball skipped up and hit him on the shoulder. Close.

83 minGood ball into the box by Alioski but it's a touch too close to Hennessey, who does well to claim it and release it quickly.

84 minPENALTY TO WALES!

85 minMISS! Ramsey went down after being tripped and the referee pointed to the spot without hesitation. The Arsenal man got up to take it himself, but it was a poor kick. He arched his run up and struck it straight down the middle. Pacovski didn't even have to move.

88 minSAVE! Pandev once again trying to carve open an opportunity. He twists and turns on the edge of the box but his shot is scuffed, allowing Hennessey to get down to it comfortably.

89 minSHOT! Ibraimi sets up Randjelovic on the edge of the area but his shot misses the target. He tried to open his body up and shoot across goal but couldn't quite get the angle.

90 minWALES SUB: Jermaine Easter is coming on to replace tonight's goalscorer Simon Church.

90+2 minBOOKING! Hennessey is booked for a spot of time wasting.

9.39pmFULL TIME: Wales 1-0 Macedonia

9.40pmSo Wales give themselves the best opportunity to avoid finishing bottom of Group A. They face Belgium in their final match on Tuesday with a two-point advantage over Macedonia.

9.41pmThanks for joining us on Sports Mole. Come back again soon!

Wales national team manager Chris Coleman looks on during the International Friendly match between Wales v Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on August 14, 2013
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