Ben Woodburn announced himself on the international scene by coming off the bench to score the winner in a crucial World Cup qualifying clash with Austria.
Wales 1-0 Austria
2018 FIFA World Cup - European Qualifiers
The 17-year-old scored with his first touches of the ball to become Wales’ second youngest scorer of all time and to hand his team a huge three points.
Wales closed the gap on second placed Republic of Ireland and moved three points ahead of Austria thanks to a narrow victory at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday evening.
Wales created the first real chance of the evening through Aaron Ramsey who did excellently to beat two men, stay on his feet and release a shot, but his effort was always rising.
Austria responded to Wales’ bright start with a long spell of heavy pressure and star man Marco Arnautovic managed to create several problems for the home side.
The visitors didn’t manage to create too many clear-cut opportunities during their promising spell, but they certainly set the tempo in the opening half-hour.
Arnautovic was at it again on the 35-minute mark when he was found down the left-side of the Wales box with a pin-point pass.
The home fans were mightily relieved to see the West Ham forward curl the ball well wide of the mark.
Austria continued their pressure but Coleman’s men made it to half-time with their clean sheet intact, following a bright end to the first half.
Chris Coleman made a change to the Wales shape at the break with Andy King replacing Jazz Richards to cater for a more straight forward 4-4-2.
The tactical change seemed to fluster the opposition and Wales dominated the opening exchanges of the second half.
Gareth Bale was spectacularly denied by Austria keeper Heinz Lindner on the 55-minute mark – the Zurich Grasshoppers stopper pushing the ball away from his top corner at full stretch.
Wales continued their pressure in the second half and bold changes from Chris Coleman saw 17-year-old Ben Woodburn and Hal Robson-Kanu enter the action.
Ben Woodburn made an immediate impact on his competitive debut as he set himself before firing in a stunning goal from the edge of the box with his first touches of the ball.
Wales kept up the pressure late on as Gareth Bale’s spectacular bicycle kick was denied by a Lindner save.
The Austrian keeper was helpless minutes later as Robson-Kanu went close only to be denied by the outside of the post.
That was to be the last of the action and referee Ovidiu Hategan’s final whistle signalled a big three points for Wales ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Moldova.
WALES: Hennessey, Gunter, Richards (King), Davies, Chester, Williams, Lawrence (Woodburn), Ramsey, Bale, Edwards, Vokes (Robson-Kanu).
AUSTRIA: Lindner, Lainer, Dragovic, Hinteregger, Ilsanker, Arnautovic, Alaba, Sabitzser (Gregoritsch), Harnik (Janko), Baumgartlinger, Prodl (Danso).