Last night saw Chris Gunter and Sandro Wieser on international duty...Thursday evening saw two Royals in action on the international stage for World Cup qualification, with Chris Gunter and Sandro Wieser both representing their countries on the road to Russia 2018.
Paul McShane was an unused substitute for the Republic of Ireland in their qualifier at home to Georgia after receiving the call-up from Martin O’Neil last week.
Chris Gunter’s Wales faced a difficult away trip to Austria, in a meeting between Group D’s top two seeds. After a war of words before the match between the two manager’s the game was every bit as exciting as the build up had promised, with the Welsh twice being pegged back by a determined Austria.
Gunter was picked to start for the Dragons and played another full 90 minutes for his country in a great contest between two good sides. Joe Allen opened the scoring for the visitors with a superb volley from well outside the area – the strike flying past Almer in the Austrian goal much to the delight of the travelling Welsh supporters.
Six minutes later however and Austria were level through Stoke City’s Marko Arnautovic, who slotted past Wayne Hennessey to put the hosts back in the game. Wales were not to be deterred, and right as the first half was drawing to a close, a long throw from Gareth Bale caused all kinds of confusion in the Austrian defence. Eventually the ball ricocheted into the net off Tottenham Hotspurs’ Kevin Wimmer to restore the Wales lead.
Arnautovic was again the man to dig the home side out of trouble when he burst through on goal midway through the second half to level the scores for a second time. Wales were the happier of the two sides at full time with a draw in Vienna, representing a good result at this early stage of the qualification process.
Elsewhere in Group D, Paul McShane was an unused substitute for the Republic of Ireland in Dublin as the Irish secured their first win of the qualifying campaign, beating Georgia by a goal to nil.
Reading’s Sandro Wieser featured for Liechtenstein as they hosted Albania, looking for their first points of the qualification process in Group G. It was not to be however for Sandro’s side, with Albania running out 2-0 winners at the Rheinpark Stadion.
An own goal after 11 minutes from Liechtenstein goalkeeper Peter Jehle got the home team off to a very difficult start, and despite their attempts to fight their way back into the game, it was to no avail.
Albania all but made sure of the victory when forward Bekim Balaj doubled their lead on the 71st minute to put Albania top of Group G after two games, above both Spain and Italy who played out a 1-1 draw in Turin.