Nations League review: Neco Williams saves Wales on home debut, Ansu Fati’s feat for Spain


Ansu Fati: Barcelona starlet celebrates after scoring his first goal for Spain – aged 17 years and 311 days-

A review of Sunday’s Nations League action, including Wales and Republic of Ireland.

Liverpool ace Williams grabs stoppage-time winner for Wales

Wales’ winning habit continued with a 1-0 victory over Bulgaria as Neco Williams scored a dramatic stoppage-time header in Cardiff.

Liverpool teenager Williams, sent on as a 65th-minute substitute, met Jonny Williams’ cross at the far post in the fourth minute of injury time.

It was the 19-year-old full-back’s first goal in senior football on the back of his breakthrough season at Anfield.

The Dragons had opened their Nations League campaign with a 1-0 triumph in Finland on Thursday when Ryan Giggs’ side made light of several notable absentees.

It was a third consecutive win for Wales on a seven-game unbeaten run, but Gareth Bale and company struggled to find the key to unlocking Bulgaria.

Bale, who has been out in the cold at Real Madrid, completed 90 minutes for the first time since January 4 but the country’s record scorer could not add to his 33-goal tally.

The closest Wales – who kept a fourth consecutive clean sheet – had come to a goal before Williams’ late intervention was when David Brooks struck the woodwork 16 minutes from time.

Jensen strike sinks Republic of Ireland in Dublin

Substitute Fredrik Jensen ruined Stephen Kenny’s big night as he came off the bench to fire Finland to Nations League victory over the Republic of Ireland.

Jensen had been on the pitch for just 18 seconds when he fired the Finns ahead somewhat against the run of play to ensure the manager’s first home game ended in a 1-0 defeat at an empty Aviva Stadium.

After a pedestrian first half, Ireland finally established some momentum with Aaron Connolly and substitutes David McGoldrick and Callum Robinson threatening either side of Jensen’s strike, but as the home side pushed for an equaliser, they were hit repeatedly on the counter.

Skipper Shane Duffy headed agonisingly over at the death after keeper Darren Randolph had kept Finland at bay, but there was no way back.

The defeat, coupled with Thursday night’s 1-1 draw in Bulgaria, left the Republic still awaiting a first Nations League win and Kenny with as many questions as answers as he attempts to draw up a blueprint for next month’s Euro 2020 play-off in Slovakia.

Midfielder Harry Arter insisted Ireland did not deserve to lose the game.

He told Sky Sports: “It’s hugely disappointing I felt we didn’t deserve to lose the game. We probably do enough to get a goal, but it felt like we defended well, won a lot in the game.

“We’ve got to make sure we see games out 0-0. If we’re not going to create an awful lot, we need to make sure we don’t concede.

“It’s disappointing.”

Arter admitted he and his team-mates, who travel to Slovakia for a Euro 2020 play-off next month, have to find a killer instinct in front of goal if they are to prosper.

He added: “I felt in the attacking areas, we could have been better. I don’t think we had enough conviction up top – that’s not a criticism of the lads that were playing there, as a team, whether it was the build-up was too slow or that final pass let us down.

“I felt we built up from the back very well, but we lacked that killer instinct which at international, we have to create and we have to get pretty soon.”

Barcelona forward Ansu Fati became Spain’s youngest goalscorer, breaking a record which had stood for 95 years, as his side beat Ukraine 4-0 in group A4.

Fati, aged 17 years and 311 days, had already broken records for Barcelona’s youngest goalscorer in La Liga and the Champions League when he netted via a post to add another landmark to his collection.

Sergio Ramos had already converted a penalty won by Fati, and added a header for his second. Manchester City newcomer Ferran Torres added a fourth in the 84th minute.

In the same group, Germany were held to a 1-1 draw in Switzerland after Ilkay Gundogan’s opener was cancelled out in the 57th minute by Silvan Widmer.

Elsewhere, Russia earned a narrow 3-2 victory in a close-fought match with Hungary in group B3.

In the same group, Serbia and Turkey played out a goalless draw.

In group C3, Slovenia earned a 1-0 victory over Moldova while Greece beat Kosovo 2-1.

The Faroe Islands secured a 1-0 victory over Andorra while Malta drew 1-1 with Latvia in group D1.


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