Bale penalty cancels out Weah's first-half strike in absorbing Group B draw

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Bale penalty cancels out Weah's first-half strike in absorbing Group B draw
Updated
Bale made it 1-1 from the spot
Bale made it 1-1 from the spot
StatsPerform, AFP
The USA went into the break with a well-deserved 1-0 lead following Timothy Weah's (22) classy goal in the 36th minute after Christian Pulisic's (24) determined run and threaded through-ball set him up to score. However, Wales clawed the match back in the second half with a spirited display and snathced a draw thanks to a Gareth Bale (33) penalty.

It's fair to say that the USA were the better side in the first half as they dominated possession, chances, and went into the break with a deserved 1-0 lead.

However, credit to Wales, they turned a lifeless first 45 minutes around and came out in the second half looking like a different team.

The second half was a pulsating affair of open, attacking football and it looked as if either team could add more goals. As it were, Walker Zimmerman's (29) clumsy tackle on Bale in the 80th minute gifted the Welsh a penalty which Bale dispatched with fury.

Take a look at Ryan Fisher's full match report here for more details and see the full match stats here

Full match stats
StatsPerform

Second Half

10:02 CET: That's the final whistle and it's been an absolutely absorbing affair at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Qatar, it ends 1-1.

21:56 CET: Joe Morrell replaces Ethan Ampadu, who took a few knocks, for Wales.

21:54 CET: Harry Wilson leaves the pitch and Sorba Thomas comes on as a substitute for Wales.

21:53 CET: Bodies are falling all over the place as both sets of players throw every ounce of energy into the final moments.

21:51 CET: Nine minutes of extra time is shown.

21:50 CET: Brennan Johnson drives into the US box but his effort is fired straight at Turner.

21:48 CET: The match is drawing to a close but the pace of the game isn't halting. Jordan Morris (USA) is coming onto the pitch as Timothy Weah cannot continue after picking up an injury

21:42 CET: GOAL! Bale blasts the ball past Turner in the US goal to level the match.

21:41 CET: Penalty Wales! Zimmerman takes Bale out in the box and the referee points to the spot. That's a clear one.

21:39 CET: In a sign of their attacking intent, Wales have brought forward Brennan Johnson on for wingback Neco Williams.

21:36 CET: Coming into the last 15 minutes of regular time now and it really has been high-tempo end-to-end football here. The match has really opened up in the second half and it feels like either side could score. Wales are really going for it, as you can imagine, which has just made them a little more vulnerable on the break.

21:35 CET: Another three changes for the USA as they look to freshen things up. Dest, Musah and Sargent all depart. Yedlin, Acosta and Wright come on.

21:30 CET: Brenden Aaronson replaces McKennie for the USA.

21:26 CET: And another big headed chance for Wales as Moore nods it over following the corner. 

21:25 CET: Matt Turner (USA) makes a great save to deny Ben Davies' header.

21:22 CET: An hour into the game and Wales have rejoined the contest in this second half. As our momentum graphic shows, it's been a much more even-handed second period. Wales have mustered up a few shots and look re-energised after what was a flat first-half performance.

Wales have come back into the contest
StatsPerform

21:11 CET: Tim Ream (USA) is booked after holding Bale back just as Wales were about to break away.

21:06 CET: Wales kick off the second half and they have made one change at halftime with Keiffer Moore on for Dan James. They'll be hoping that the big man Moore can offer them something different going forward.

First Half

First-half stats from USA versus Wales
StatsPerform

20:50 CET: And that's halftime here at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium. The half was cagey for stretches but you have to say that the USA are good value for their 1-0 lead, courtesy of Timothy Weah's goal. They were by far the better team in the first 45. Stay tuned for all the first-half stats.

20:48 CET: Chris Mepham (Wales) picks up a yellow card for a cynical foul on Pulisic, who had him beaten down the flank.

20:46 CET: There will be four minutes of added time in the first half.

20:44 CET: The goal seems to have woken Wales up a bit, they are playing with a bit more purpose as the half draws to its close.

20:43 CET: Wales pick up their first yellow as Bale is booked for a mistimed challenge from behind.

20:37 CET: GOAL! Pulisic bursts through the Wales midfield and threads a ball between the defence for Timothy Weah to prod home. 1-0 USA! 

20:35 CET: Chris Mepham has somehow escaped a booking for a late and clumsy challenge on Christian Pulisic.

20:31 CET: Dest tries a hopeful shot from distance but it sails well over Hennessey's crossbar.

20:27 CET: With 25 minutes gone, it feels like the USA is controlling the possession and tempo of this match and they've certainly had the better chances. Wales have struggled to assert themselves in the game so far.

The first 20 minutes were all the USA's
StatsPerform

20:25 CET: Antonee Robinson (USA) slaloms his way past challenges and into the box, but an opposing player does well to get the ball away. 

20:14 CET: Weston McKennie follows Dest's example and picks up a yellow as well for another full-blooded challenge. 

20:13 CET: Sergino Dest picks up the first yellow card of the match for a heavy tackle.

20:11 CET: Two big chances for the US as first Wales' Joe Rodon heads the ball at his own goal only for Wayne Hennessey to save it and then Josh Sargent follows that up soon after with a header just wide of the post.

20:08 CET: The US have dominated possession in the early stages. They are moving the ball around well. But there have yet to be any clear-cut chances for either side.

20:01 CET: The USA, in all white, kick the match off against Wales in all red.

19:54 CET: The teams come out for the anthems into a packed Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.

Lineups

United States: Matt Turner, Sergino Dest, Walker Zimmerman, Tyler Adams, Antonee Robinson, Yunus Musah, Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic, Tim Ream, Tim Weah, Josh Sargent.

Wales: Wayne Hennessey, Neco Williams, Ben Davies, Chris Mepham, Joe Rodon, Harry Wilson, Aaron Ramsey, Gareth Bale, Connor Roberts, Ethan Ampadu, Dan James.

Team News

Wales' Joe Allen was ruled out of the match on Sunday as he continues to recover from a thigh injury. 

The USA will be without Luca de la Torre.

Introduction

Both sides will be bringing their own special sort of momentum into this match.

Wales are appearing at their first World Cup finals since 1958 and despite being such a small country, have impressed fans and experts alike over the recent seasons with their spirited and clever approach.

Where Wales tend to rely on their three veterans in Bale, Ramsey and Allen, the USA will be relying on youth in this tournament.

They come to Qatar with the second-youngest squad and a new generation of players that is brimming with energy and talent. 

Both sides will be desperate to win this one and stamp their authority on the group.

Follow all the action here on Flashscore News or follow the match using our audio commentary feature here