Bale misses penalty as Wales lose in Russia
MOSCOW – Goals from strikers Roman Pavlyuchenko and Pavel Pogrebnyak gave Russia a 2-1 win over Wales in their World Cup Group Four qualifier on Wednesday.
The hosts went ahead in the 22nd minute when Pavlyuchenko fired into the roof of the net from the spot after midfielder Carl Robinson brought down Konstantin Zyryanov in the box.
Wales had squandered the chance to take the lead five minutes before that when Pavlyuchenko’s Tottenham Hotspur team mate Gareth Bale had his penalty well saved by Igor Akinfeyev’s acrobatic dive to the right.
Defender Bale made amends for the miss midway through the second half when he set up the equaliser, running through two defenders and crossing from the right to allow Joe Ledley to slot in with his left foot.
Guus Hiddink’s men put their foot on the gas, eventually getting the breakthrough in the 81st minute.
Forward Andrei Arshavin showed the sort of dangerous edge he displayed to help Russia reach the Euro 2008 semi-finals, crossing in from the left after a nifty run down the flank and finding Zyryanov in the box.
Zyryanov’s header was palmed away by Wayne Hennessey into the path of Pogrebnyak, whose scorching left-footed shot had the Welsh keeper well beaten.
The Russians were determined not to let the lead slip away, with Pavlyuchenko unleashing a powerful left-footed shot from the right minutes before the end which Hennessey managed to touch behind for a corner.
It was Russia’s first match of the qualifying campaign for the 2010 finals in South Africa and the second game for Wales after a 1-0 home win over Azerbaijan on Saturday. The others in the group are Germany, Finland and Liechtenstein.