by Matt Slater
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Competition: UEFA Nations League – Group B4
WALES secured promotion to Nations League Group A after dismantling 10-man Finland and moved a step closer to reaching the Word Cup Finals.
The visitors found themselves facing an uphill battle as Jure Uronen was shown the red card after just eleven minutes.
Harry Wilson opened the scoring for the Dragons, and Dan James followed suit, before Teemu Pukki grabbed a consolation goal.
And it was target man Kieffer Moore who ensured the well-deserved win with a late header.
Wales are now a record-breaking eleven games unbeaten and have kept seven clean sheets during the campaign.
— UEFA Nations League (@EURO2020) November 18, 2020
Gareth Bale had the first chance of the game as he pounced on an O’Shaughnessy misplaced pass but was unable to beat Lukas Hradecky.
Finland found themselves under the cosh after Jere Uronen was sent off. Danny Ward caught a freekick and instantly fired the ball up to Harry Wilson.
The Cardiff- loanee found himself one-on-one with the ‘keeper but was taken down by Uronen.
Gareth Bale was close to finding the opener after sliding onto the end of a perfectly weighted Dan James cross, but it was met by Hradecky once again.
And after piling the pressure onto the away side, Wales found the opener. The Dragons were patient in the build-up and Bale was able to find a sprinting Wilson. He found himself one-on-one and slotted home.
Wales continued to pile the pressure into the second half and were awarded by a goal. Dan James took a great first touch on the edge of the box and smashed the ball into the top-left corner.
The Manchester United winger was in full confidence and was looking for his second of the game. He glided passed two defenders in the box but saw his shot roll wide of the post.
But it was Finland’s Teemu Pukki who was to grab the next goal of the game. Wales had let their focus slip.
The Norwich striker met the cross of Robin Lod and fired the ball into the bottom corner – putting an end to Wales’ clean sheet run in the process.
It was Finland’s turn to pile the pressure on, with Nicolas Hamalainen next up to put Danny Ward to the test but was unsuccessful at finding the equaliser.
Dan James replied by trying to extend Wales’ lead, but was, once again, denied by the Finnish ‘keeper.
But he did get the assist for the winner.
The winger found the better of his marker and floated a cross into the box. The one-man Wales wanted to be on the end of the cross, was.
Kieffer Moore got over the defender and powered home to seal the deal for Wales and send them through to Group A.
Star Player: Daniel James
Wales: Ward; Roberts, Mepham, Rodon, J Lawrence (Moore 46’); Norrington-Davies, Morrell, Ampadu, Wilson (Roberts 89’); James (Brooks 89’), Bale (C) (T Lawrence 60’)
Finland: Hradecky; Uronen, Arajuuri (C) Toivio, Alho; Taylor, O’Shaughnessy (Niskanen 60’), Kamala, Lod; Schuller (Valakari 73’), Pukki (Forss 89’)
Incident Log: Goals: Harry Wilson (29’), Daniel James (46’), Teemu Pukki (63’), Kieffer Moore (84’)
Yellow Cards: Ethan Ampadu (76’)