Vladimir Stojkovic of Serbia watches the attempt on goal of Gareth Bale of Wales during the 2018 World Cup qualifier at Cardiff City Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. Stu Forster / Getty Images
Vladimir Stojkovic of Serbia watches the attempt on goal of Gareth Bale of Wales during the 2018 World Cup qualifier at Cardiff City Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. Stu Forster / Getty

2018 European World Cup qualifying: Gareth Bale’s Wales ‘feel like we threw away two points’ against Serbia



Wales conceded an agonising late equaliser as Serbia battled to a 1-1 draw in a 2018 World Cup qualifier on Saturday as Italy and Spain both won 4-0.

Earlier Saturday, the Republic of Ireland had stunned Austria 1-0 in Vienna and are top of Group D on 10 points, with Serbia second on eight and Wales third on six.

Gareth Bale rocketed Wales into a 30th-minute lead in Cardiff after Hal Robson-Kanu dispossessed Matija Nastasic and fed the ball to the Real Madrid forward, who cracked home a powerful snap shot to make it 1-0.

But Aleksander Mitrovic was fastest to react with four red shirts around him when Antonio Rukavina whipped in an inviting cross to level for the visitors late in the game.

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“It was a disappointing result, we feel like we threw away two points. We’re at home, 1-0 up after 85 minutes, it’s two points lost,” Bale said after the game.

Just moments before Serbia had levelled, Bale had seen a snapshot come agonisingly back off the post.

Wales manager Chris Coleman was less disappointed and was looking down the road.

“We are four points behind Ireland but we play them twice,” he said. “We have a massive chance. Tonight the boys deserved all three points.”

It was the third game in a row the Welsh have gone ahead only to draw.

“We can be proud of ourselves. We are on the right track. Today we can be happy with one point,” said Serbia captain Branislav Ivanovic.

The Irish top Group D thanks to a James McClean strike three minutes after half time in Vienna.

“This is going to be a very tight finish. But this has been a splendid start for us and we are delighted with the 10 points,” said Ireland manager Martin O’Neill.

Spain and Italy continue to set the pace at the top in Group D and both have 10 points.

Spain played at Granada where Macedonia’s Darko Velkovski scored a 34th-minute own goal before Votolo on 63 minutes, Nacho Monreal (83) and veteran striker Aritz Aduriz (85) gave them a comfortable win.

Taking on minnows Liechtenstein, Italy’s Andrea Belotti scored either side of strikes from Ciro Imobile and Antonio Candreva.

Eran Zahavi converted an 18th-minute penalty to set Israel on their way with Dan Einbinder and Eliran Atar making sure they beat Albania 3-0 in Tirana.

Iceland failed to replicate their Euro 2016 heroics in a 2-0 defeat in Croatia, who are first in Group I.

Croatia grabbed the lead after 15 minutes through Inter Milan midfielder Marcelo Brozovic, but it was Iceland who took control after that in Zagreb, where the game was played out in front of empty stands after a Fifa stadium ban.

Despite having plenty of the ball in both halves, Iceland failed to make the crucial breakthrough.

And the home side punished them in injury time, Brozovic again doing the damage against the run of play.

Croatia, now top of the group with 10 points from four games, finished the match with 10 men after Ivan Perisic was sent off at the death.

Also in Group I, Turkey revived their slim hopes of making it to Russia in 2018 with a 2-0 home victory over Kosovo in Antalya.

Burak Yilmaz and Volkan Sen scored within four minutes of one another in the second half to leave Kosovo bottom on just a solitary point.

Georgia and Moldova played out a 1-1 draw in Tbilisi to remain rooted in the bottom two spots in Group D.

EUROPEAN WORLD CUP QUALIFYING RESULTS:

Group D

• Wales 1 (Bale 30) Serbia 1 (Mitrovic 86)

• Austria 0 Republic of Ireland 1 (McClean 48)

• Georgia 1 (Kazaishvili 16) Moldova 1 (Gatcan 78)

Group G

• Spain 4 (Velkovski 34-o.g., Vitolo 63, Monreal 84, Aduriz 85) Macedonia 0

• Liechtenstein 0 Italy 4 (Belotti 11, 44, Immobile 12, Candreva 32)

• Albania 0 Israel 3 (Zehavy 18-pen, Einbinder 66, Atar 84)

Group I

• Croatia 2 (Brozovic 15, 90+1) Iceland 0

• Turkey 2 (B. Yilmaz 51, Sen 55) Kosovo 0

• Ukraine 1 (Kravets 25) Finland 0

Played Friday

Group A

• France 2 (Pogba 57, Payet 65) Sweden 1 (Forsberg 54)

Group C

• Czech Republic 2 (Krmencik 11, Zmrhal 47) Norway 1 (King 86)

• Northern Ireland 4 (Lafferty 27, McAuley 40, McLaughlin 66, Brunt 83) Azerbaijan 0

• San Marino 0 Germany 8 (Khedira 7, Gnabry 9, 58, 76, Hector 32, 65 Stefanelli 82-og, Volland 85)

Group E

• Armenia 3 (A. Grigoryan 50, Haroyan 74, Ghazaryan 90+4) Montenegro 2 (Kojasevic 36, Jovetic 38)

• Romania 0 Poland 3 (Grosicki 11, Lewandowski 82, 90+1-pen)

• Denmark 4 (Cornelius 15, Eriksen 36-pen, 90+2, Ankersen 78) Kazakhstan 1 (Suyumbayev 17)

Group F

• England 3 (Sturridge 24, Lallana 50, Cahill 61) Scotland 0

• Slovakia 4 (Nemec 12, Kucka 15, Skrtel 36, Hamsik 86) Lithuania 0

• Malta 0 Slovenia 1 (Verbic 47)

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