MX23RW : Wednesday, May 5 22:30:05| >> :120:34637:34637:
Feb 6, 2013 at 7.45pm UK at Millennium Stadium
Wales
2-1
Austria
FT
Janko

Live Commentary: Wales 2-1 Austria - as it happened

Read how Gareth Bale inspired Wales to a 2-1 victory over Austria at the Liberty Stadium, courtesy of Sports Mole's live text.
2

Chris Coleman went in search of just his second win as Wales manager when Austria visited the Liberty Stadium in an international friendly.

Gareth Bale scored one and provided the assist for Sam Vokes's second-half header as the hosts moved into a two-goal lead.

Visiting skipper Marc Janko pulled one back for the Austrians but it wasn't enough as Wales recorded victory ahead of their World Cup qualifying double next month.

Read how the match in Swansea unfolded below.


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Evening all! Most eyes will be on England this evening as they celebrate the FA's 150th anniversary, but the other home nations are in action too...

Here we will be following Chris Coleman's young Wales side as they welcome Austria to Swansea for what should be a evenly-matched friendly.

Elsewhere on the site, you can keep tabs on Scotland vs. Estonia, Republic of Ireland vs. Poland and, of course, England vs. Brazil.

Around 40 minutes until kickoff now, and I will have team news with you shortly.

One man we know will not be playing is former captain Aaron Ramsey. The Arsenal midfielder was forced to drop out of the squad earlier today with a calf strain.

Regulars Wayne Hennessey and Neil Taylor are nursing long-term injuries and are unavailable, but Coleman has been boosted by the return of Craig Bellamy.

The Cardiff City forward has not been fit to feature in any of Wales's four World Cup qualifiers, of which they have won just one - a 2-1 victory over Scotland in October.

Jack Collison is another key player returning to the international fold following nearly a year on the sidelines with a knee injury.

The West Ham United youngster has not put on the red shirt of Wales since appearing in the Gary Speed memorial match against Costa Rica in February 2012.

As well as that of Ramsey, Coleman's squad has been depleted by several withdrawals. Goalkeeper Lewis Price has pulled out due to a family illness, while Huddersfield Town defender Joel Lynch is missing through injury.

They have been replaced by free-agent goalkeeper Jason Brown and Bristol City defender James Wilson, who could make his international debut this evening.

He will not be partnering James Collins at centre-back, though. The Hammers man, along with Norwich City striker Steve Morison, is another regular not at Coleman's disposal this evening.

Despite his notable absentees, the Wales boss has claimed that this is the strongest squad from which he has had to choose.

Craig Bellamy's international comeback is certainly something that has pleased Coleman, who said of the 33-year-old: "I've never seen him as relaxed as he is now. I think he's in a good place."

Right, tonight's lineups are finally in! Let's start with the hosts...

WALES: Myhill; Matthews, Ricketts, Williams, Davies; Ledley, Allen, Vaughan; Collison; Bale; Bellamy

SUBS: Fon Williams, C.Davies, Richards, Wilson, Gunter, King, Church, Vokes, Robson-Kanu, Brown

Bolton Wanderers' Sam Ricketts will play alongside skipper Ashley Williams in the centre of a defence which includes 19-year-old Swansea City left-back Ben Davies.

Gareth Bale will play behind frontman Craig Bellamy, who, as expected, makes his Wales return. Jack Collison is back in the side on the left flank.

There are also starts for Liverpool's Joe Allen, Celtic duo Joe Ledley and Adam Matthews and Sunderland midfielder David Vaughan. Boaz Myhill continues to deputise for Hennessey in between the sticks.

And now the visitors...

AUSTRIA: Almer; Klein, Prodl, Pogatetz, Suttner; Ivanshitz, Alaba, Kavlak Weimann; Janko, Arnautovic

SUBS: Linder, Konigshofer, Garics, Dragovic, Fuchs, Junuzovic, Sabitzer, Baumgartlinger, Jantscher, Leitgeb, Hosiner, Schiemer

West Ham's Emanuel Pogatetz and Aston Villa's Andreas Weimann make up the Premier League representation in the Austrian lineup.

Andreas Ivanschitz and David Alaba may be familiar to you from their time in the Champions League and German Bundesliga, where the majority of the Austrian squad play their football.

The players are out on the pitch and singing/miming their respective national anthems. Kickoff is imminent in Swansea!

Right then, prediction time! I think home advantage and the inspired form of Bale will steer Wales to victory tonight. 3-1 to the hosts!

We are underway at the Liberty Stadium...

OFF THE LINE! Matthews heads the ball away from underneath his own bar after Allen inadvertently directs an Austrian corner towards the top corner of the home goal.

This has been a tidy start from the Austrians, who are keeping the ball well inside the Wales half without threatening to penetrate the home back four.

Ivanshitz plays a give-and-go with Bayern Munich's David Alaba but then crosses high over Marko Arnautovic's head.

That's no easy task either. The Werder Bremen forward stands at a lanky 6ft4in.

Williams lofts a ball over the top. Bellamy chases after it but it skips away from him and safely into the gloves of Robert Almer.

SHOT! Ivanschitz shoots powerfully from range, but Myhill is alert and palms the ball away from danger.

Bale gives the Austrians an indication of what he is capable of, charging past Pogatetz down the right flank before sending in a cross which is just behind Bellamy.

Weimann wins an all-Premier League duel by spinning away from Davies and drawing a foul out of the Swans defender.

Alaba delivers the resulting free kick towards the penalty spot and when Ricketts can only head it upwards, Myhill claims the loose ball.

CLOSE! Wales press the Austrian defence and force a sloppy pass out of Veli Kavlak. David Vaughan releases Bellamy with a perfectly-weighted first-time pass and the Cardiff man drills a shot across goal which comes within whiskers of the far corner.

STAT! I suggested that this would be an even contest and that has been the case thus far. The two sides are enjoying an equal 50% share of possession.

GOAL! Wales 1-0 Austria (Gareth Bale)

Who else? Gareth Bale continues his fine goalscoring week by netting the opener. It's a very well-constructed goal as Allen dinks a ball over the Austrian right-back. Bale controls it on his chest, cuts inside Markus Suttner and rolls the ball into the bottom corner.

The Spurs star has now scored his country's last four international goals as well as bagging seven in his nine most recent club matches.

And he nearly gets in again! Bale bamboozles Markus Suttner with some tricky feet on the left edge of the area but can only poke a cross straight at visiting stopper Almer.

GOALFLASH! England have taken the lead against Brazil courtesy of a Wayne Rooney strike. Well predicted Rio!

HEADER! Ivanschitz whips a free kick into the box which Pogatetz heads off the shoulder of Davies and behind for a corner.

DISALLOWED! A clumsy foul from Davies on Alaba gifts Austria another set piece. Alaba takes it himself and at the back post, Marc Janko nods the ball across goal for Pogatetz to head home from close range. However, the celebrations are very short lived as the assistant calls offside on Arnautovic.

Wales have a free kick of their own here. Bale strikes the top of the wall with an ambitious 35-yard effort. Well, when in Rome...

SAVE! Arnautovic lets fly from distance and boy does he connect! Myhill dives to his right and gets a strong hand to the effort, which was travelling at a real pace. Ivanschitz slices the rebound over the crossbar.

CHANCE! Wales again leave Janko unmarked at the back stick, but he miscues a great headed chance wide of the near post.

Alaba has been very lively and at the centre of most Austrian attacks. Here he picks the ball up in between the home midfield and defence, spins and looks for Janko with his overhit through pass, which rolls out of play.

SHOT! Ivanschitz aims for the bottom corner with a low 25-yard strike, which is deflected behind via the foot of Joe Ledley.

WOODWORK! The resultant corner is eventually cleared to Alaba, who running away from goal, somehow directs a shot at the home net. Myhill, seemingly surprised by Alaba's audacity, reacts late and would not have been in a position to save the shot had it not bounced out off the base of the post.

We are entering first-half stoppage time, of which there will be just one minute.

HALF-TIME: Wales 1-0 Austria

That was a very watchable 45 minutes of football. Predictably, Gareth Bale is the difference between the two sides at the moment. The on-fire winger confidently applied the finish to Joe Allen's pass to net the only goal of an entertaining and competitive first period.

Austria are well in this match, though. The visitors have played some tidy football which suggests that their FIFA ranking of 68th is slightly false.

David Alaba in particular has looked very accomplished in the centre of midfield. Marko Arnautovic has also shown us that he is not afraid to use his cannon of a left foot.

STATS! The possession has been split 50-50, the Austrians have had six shots on target compared to Wales's two. Chris Coleman's side are yet to have a corner, while the visitors have had four, and looked dangerous from them too.

Seeing as this is a friendly, I expect we will see the traditional flurry of second-half changes. I will keep you up to date with who is on and who is off.

Austria resume the action in Swansea and Wales boss Coleman has made a double half-time alteration...

As predicted, Bellamy is only given a 45-minute run out on his international return as serial Wales sub Sam Vokes takes his place up-front. Andy King has replaced David Vaughan in midfield.

No changes from the Austrians as of yet. Each side are allowed to make five substitutes.

SHOT! Ledley travels forward with the ball, ignores the overlapping run of Davies and blazes a long-range shot over the crossbar.

GOALFLASH! After conceding an equaliser early in the second period, England have regained the lead against Brazil at Wembley courtesy of Frank Lampard. You can follow that match courtesy of my colleague Pascal Lemesre, here.

GOAL! Wales 2-0 Austria (Sam Vokes)

Davies attempts to knock the ball into the area, but overhits his pass. Bale chases the misplaced pass down, cuts inside on his left foot and delivers a precise cross for Vokes to emphatically head into the bottom corner. Excellent finish from the substitute.

CHANCE! It could, should have been three-nil. King threads a lovely ball through to Collison on the right flank and when his cross is only partially cleared, Bale finds himself in plenty of space inside the box. However, the Spurs man proves his humanity by firing his 14-yard shot wide of the post. Only just, though.

SUBSTITUTION: Bale is relieved of the last half-an-hour as Reading winger Hal Robson-Kanu for his 12th Wales cap.

CHANCE! Matthews whips in a beautiful cross from deep and Vokes forces a smart diving stop out of Adler with another powerful header. The Wales striker was offside, anyway.

SUBSTITUTIONS: Austria boss Marcel Koller turns to his bench for the first time, bringing on Jakob Jantscher and Zlatko Junuzovic in midfield. Ivanschitz and Weimann are the pair to make way.

Bale's withdrawal has seen the game lose some of its pace, with Austria now stringing a succession of passes together in midfield.

It is now Wales's turn to pass the ball around, with Joe Allen at the centre of things. The out-of-favour Liverpool midfielder has had a very good 70 minutes.

BLOCKED! Arnautovic fools Ledley by feigning to shoot, and then wriggles into the Wales box. He shoots on right foot but Williams blocks with his leg.

Robson-Kanu bursts down the left and drills a cross across the six-yard box which evades Vokes. Prodl makes the clearance.

SUBSTITUTION: Another Reading man, Chris Gunter, is introduced into the action as he replaces Adam Matthews at right-back.

GOAL! Wales 2-1 Austria (Marc Janko)

Alaba drives forward before laying in Arnautovic down the left. He superbly picks out Janko at the back post and the 6ft 5in striker heads past a helpless Myhill to half the deficit.

SHOT! Arnautovic nearly gets a goal to add to his assist as he again cuts in from the left, but this time opts to shoot with a bending effort that just doesn't have enough dip on it to sneak underneath the bar.

SUBSTITUTION: In the midst of the goalscoring action, I missed an Austrian change. Koller has swapped Christoph Leitgeb for Veli Kavlak in midfield.

SHOT! Alaba unleashes another long-range effort but does not trouble Myhill on this occasion as the ball sails into the stands.

That Austrian reply has completely changed the pattern of this game. Wales are very much on the back foot now.

Wales counter as Davies exchanges pass with Allen before cutting the ball back towards the onrushing King, who is denied by a last-ditch Pogatetz challenge.

SUBSTITUTION: Coleman makes his final change of the match. Simon Church will have the last five minutes in place of Jack Collison.

A goalbound free kick from Arnautovic flicks off the head of Robson-Kanu and behind for a corner.

SUBSTITUTION: The Austrians throw on Franz Schiemer in place of Markus Suttner at left-back.

HEADER! Davies's failed attempt at playing offside does not prove costly as Janko tamely nods a back-post header wide. That was a rare error from the Swansea defender, who has put in another assured performance tonight.

We are now entering second-half stoppage time, of which there will be three minutes...

FULL-TIME: Wales 2-1 Austria

So, Wales will go into their World Cup qualifier against Scotland next month on the back of a victory. A 2-1 victory I predicted, I might add!

An entertaining match at the Liberty which will provide Chris Coleman with optimism ahead of their upcoming competitive matches. Goals from Gareth Bale and Sam Vokes put the hosts two-nil ahead. Captain Marc Janko pulled one back for the Austrians and although they applied the pressure in the last 20 minutes, Wales hung on for the win.

Here, you can read Sports Mole's full-time report on the contest, courtesy of my colleague Liam Power.

That is it from me for tonight. Thanks for joining Sports Mole this evening and be sure to come back for our coverage of the weekend's Premier League fixtures. Over and out...

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