Wales were forced to settle for a draw against World Cup-bound Panama on Tuesday evening following a late equaliser.
Wales 1-1 Panama
VAUXHALL INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE MATCH
- Tuesday, 14 November 2017
- Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff
Chris Coleman and his men rounded off the international calendar for 2017 with a draw as Panama grabbed a late equaliser through Armando Cooper.
Wales were made to work against Panama side who dramatically qualified for their first ever World Cup finals last month.
Tom Lawrence’s second-half strike looked to be enough to secure a return to winning ways for Wales, but Armando Cooper escaped his marker to grab a leveller during injury time.
Wales dominated the first-half, with Panama seeing little of the ball for long periods, but the visitors remained patient and organised at the back.
Coleman’s men were limited to few chances in the opening period and their best of the arrived early on.
Slick wing-play down the right and a pin-point cross from Ben Woodburn found David Brooks at the far post, but the Sheffield United youngster couldn’t make enough contact to test jaime Penedo in the Panama goal.
For all of Wales’ dominance in possession, Penedo actually enjoyed a relatively quiet first-half with no big saves required.
Panama often looked quick on the break, but ultimately struggled against Wales’ defensive partnership, James Chester and Ben Davies.
Blas Perez came closes for Los Canales around five minutes before the break, curling a low and powerful effort just wide of Danny Ward’s far post.
Wales were awarded a chance to take the lead from the spot moments before the break when David Edwards was tripped in the box,
However, Sam Vokes’ low penalty was kept out thanks to a strong one-handed save from Jaime Penedo.
That crucial penalty save meant the sides went in at half-time with the dead-lock yet to be broken.
Chris Coleman made two changes at the break, introducing Tom Bradshaw and Tom Lockyer for Ben Davies and Sam Vokes respectively in a bid to give more experience to the younger squad members.
It was Panama who had the first big chance of the second-half when Gabriel Torres - collecting the ball from behind the Wales defence - was adjudged to be onside.
The Seattle Sounders’ striker stretched his legs to ensure a one-on-one opportunity against Danny Ward, but the Welsh stopper stood his ground to prevent the game’s opener.
A quiet spell followed Panama’s best opportunity of the evening as both managers made a number of changes.
Both sides had to be patient as they adapted to the fresh legs on the pitch, but it was Wales who coped better.
Coleman’s men took the lead with 15 minutes remaining thanks to Tom Lawrence’s excellent curling strike into the far bottom corner.
Wales almost doubled their lead with five minutes remaining on the clock when Andrew Crofts tried his luck with a first-time strike from distance, but he was denied by the strong palms of Jaime Penedo to keep it at 1-0.
That save would prove vital for the visitors who once again showed their resilience to find an equaliser during injury time.
The lively Armando Cooper broke through the Welsh back-line, before keeping his composure to slot past Danny Ward.
A goal against the run of play for Panama, but a crucial leveller to give them confidence in their build-up to next year’s World Cup.
It would end level at the Cardiff City Stadium on a night that perhaps signalled the start of a new generation for Wales.
A number of stand-out performances amongst a young Wales side meant there were plenty of positives for Chris Coleman to take, despite conceding a goal at the death to end the calendar year with a draw.
Goals: Tom Lawrence (75’), Armando Cooper (90’).
Wales: Ward, Gunter (C), Taylor, Davies (Lockyer 45’), Chester, Edwards (Evans 62’), Ampadu (Crofts 66’), Brooks (Watkins 70’), Lawrence, Woodburn (Hedges 70’), Vokes (Bradshaw 45’).
Panama: Penedo, Murillo, Baloy, Escobar, Ovalle, M Vargas (Buitrago 69’), Heraldez (Gonzalez 75’), Avila ( J Vargas 66’), Cooper, Perez (Stephens 87’), Torres (Diaz 64’).