A Kayleigh Green wonder goal from 35 yards out gave Jayne Ludlow’s side a winning start to their 2018 Cyprus Cup campaign as they beat Finland 1-0.
Finland 0-1 Wales
2018 Cyprus Cup
- Wednesday, 28 February 2018
- Antonis Papadopoulos, Larnaca
Despite a difference in rankings (Wales 35 Finland 28) there was very little to separate both teams in the first half. Wales’ best chance in the opening half came from Angharad James with an early strike from outside the box, which was dealt comfortably by Finnish goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela.
With Wales’ defensive structure making things difficult for Finland, it was Ludlow’s side’s chance to attack in the second half. Striker Kayleigh Green almost capitalised on a long free kick in the second half, but her effort on the half volley narrowly sailed past the back post.
However, Green made the most of her next chance. Picking up the ball almost on the half way line, Green surged forwards and, upon seeing the goalkeeper off her line, Green gracefully slotted the ball into the back net.
With only a goal separating the both teams, the Welsh squad had reason to thank goal keeper Laura O’Sullivan in the closing stages. A difficult save at her near post and several collections from high balls towards the end of the match ensured Wales ended their opening match with the three points and a fifth clean sheet in a row for O’Sullivan and the squad.
Their goalkeeper plays like a sweeper, as soon as the opportunity came about I went for it. It was a hard game and I’m glad we came away with the win.
Manager Jayne Ludlow says she was thrilled with the result. "As the game progressed, performance wise the girls were spot on. They turned things round at half time and deserved the win. It’s a great starting point. We’ve hit certain targets, we’ve got some great teams coming up (Italy & Switzerland) so I hope we keep this going.”
“Kayleigh’s goal was a fantastic finish. She’s a great example, always desperate to improve, it was a great finish and she fully deserved the goal.”
Wales take on Italy on Friday 2 March and Switzerland on Monday 5 March to determine their final place in the group. They will then play a final match on Wednesday 7 March, opponents to be confirmed.
Finland: 23 Tinja-Riikka Korpela ©, 3 Tuija Hyyrynen (21 Katarina Naumanen 62’), 5 Emma Koivisto, 6 Anna Auvinen, 7 Adelina Engman (16 Anna Westerlund 84’), 9 Juliette Kemppi, 10 Emmi Alanen, 11 Nora Heroum, 14 Julia Tunturi (20 Vilma Hakala 48’), 16 Anna Westerlund, 19 Kaisa Collin
Wales: 1 Laura O’Sullivan, 13 Rachel Rowe, 2 Loren Dykes, 4 Sophie Ingle ©, 5 Rhiannon Roberts, 3 Gemma Evans (11 Nadia Lawrence 38’, 18 Melissa Fletcher 89’), 10 Jess Fishlock (6 Alice Griffiths 87’), 8 Angharad James, 7 Natasha Harding (20 Helen Ward 78’), 9 Kayleigh Green (21 Kylie Nolan ’76), 17 Charlie Estcourt (19 Hannah Miles 56’),
Goals: K Green 53’