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October 11, 2013
• Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff (Caerdydd)
Referee: S. Baliyan
• Attendance: 11257
S. Church 67'
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Wayne Hennessey
90' + 2'
And that's it! Wales are off the bottom of Group A and up to fourth place after Simon Church's second-half winner.It was a morale-boosting victory for Chris Coleman's men as they deservedly fended off late pressure from Macedonia to secure an important win.Aaron Ramsey, the undisputed man of the match, missed a penalty late on but ultimately it did not matter as Coleman's future became slightly safer ahead of the conclusion of Wales' World Cup qualification campaign.
90' + 1'
Wales fans and Chris Coleman are biting their fingernails here as Macedonia throw everything and the kitchen sink at finding an equaliser.Goran Pandev turns on a sixpence in the area and drives a low effort at goal but Wayne Hennessey is down smartly to save. Can Wales hold on?
Missed Penalty Aaron Ramsey
Penalty save Tomislav Pačovski
After a succession of Macedonian corners, Wales break and earn a penalty as Aaron Ramsey takes a tumble after evading a desperate last-ditch tackle.But the Arsenal midfielder, who has been excellent tonight, will be extremely disappointed as his penalty is too close to Tomislav Pacovski, who manages to turn the ball aside.
Macedonia make a second substitution as Aleksandar Trajkovski comes on in place of Mirko Ivanovski.Craig Bellamy bends in a delicious-looking free-kick from the left but Tomislav Pacovski copes well under pressure, punching the ball clear.
Yellow Card Vance Sikov
Wales still on top here as they look to grab a second goal and finish off their opponents. Aaron Ramsey has been exceptional in the last few minutes for his side, showing some real responsibility on and off the ball.
Aaron Ramsey is oozing with confidence at the moment and he shows some silky skills down the left to win his side a corner and bide them some time too.Macedonia introduce Darko Tasevski for the disappointing Ostoja Stjepanovic.
Yellow Card Neil Taylor
Declan John loses out on the left and Stefan Ristovski delivers a clever cut-back to the unmarked Goran Pandev, who does well to adjust his footing and sends in stinging right-foot strike which Wayne Hennessey does well to turn away from danger.
Wales almost make it two straight away. Craig Bellamy races down the left and closes in on goal but the ball gets somewhat stuck under his feet in the area as defenders got back and, in the end, Tomislav Pacovski dealt with the effort easily.
Assist Craig Bellamy
Goal Simon Church
GOAL! Wales lead and it's Simon Church who has broken the deadlock at the Cardiff City Stadium.It's a lovely goal too, as Aaron Ramsey pierces the Macedonian backline with a ball inside the left-back which finds Craig Bellamy.The veteran, making his last appearance at home for his country, unselfishly squares for Church, who slams the ball into the roof of the net.
Wales inadvertently hit the bar once more as the impressive Declan John's left-wing cross deceives Tomislav Pacovski before the keeper paws the ball out for a corner.
Some good work by Goran Pandev leads to the ball being fed out to the Macedonian right, where Stefan Ristovski lurks.The right-sider is met by the towering James Collins, however, who mops up neatly for his side with a sliding interception.
Yellow Card Declan John
The visitors over-complicate a set-piece routine which ultimately leads to an offside flag for Nikolce Noveski at the back post before the home side have to be on the ball to deal with a free-kick from the right after Declan John catches Stefan Ristovski.
Macedonia begin to make inroads into making an impression on this game as Predrag Randelovic lines a shot up from 20 yards which flies over before Ezgjan Alioski sends in a teasing cross from the left which Chris Gunter has to be alert to deal with.
Wales go close to an opener as David Vaughan embarks on a mazy run before clipping a cross-cum-shot into the area which clips off the underside of the crossbar but sails out to the right wing and to safety despite a number of Welsh forwards waiting for the ball to bounce to them in the area.
Andy King sets up Craig Bellamy to unleash an effort from 20 yards but the shot is harmless as it sails over the bar. King then gets back well to help his side defensively after James Collins struggles to deal with Besart Ibraimi initially.
Wales get us back underway for the second half at the Cardiff City Stadium.
45' + 2'
Half-time at the Cardiff City Stadium where it is Wales 0-0 Macedonia in what has certainly been an eventful first period.
Neil Taylor whips in an inviting centre which Simon Church does well to direct on target with a stooping header but Tomislav Pacovski gathers the ball well.Macedonia then counter down the left and a low cross has to be diverted onto the post by a desperate Chris Gunter intervention before Ostoja Stjepanovic's corner proves too close to Wayne Hennessey.
Mirko Ivanovski finds space 25 yards from goal on the left flank and opens up his body before unleashing a ferocious drive which goes just wide of Wayne Hennessey's right-hand post.
Wales continue to threaten as goalkeeper Tomislav Pacovski is forced into action.The Macedonian stopper pushes away Craig Bellamy's swerving effort from range but can do nothing but sit and watch as Simon Church's effort ricochets off Ezgjan Alioski and balloons up into the air before landing on the roof of the net.
Andy King's cross from the right is cleared away by Nikolce Noveski for a corner as Wales look to crank up the pressure.Craig Bellamy takes the resultant corner but Borko Ristovski is well placed to deal with the centre.
This game has developed into an end-to-end contest and Wales are denied another penalty as Hal Robson-Kanu is upended after an odd challenge from Vance Sikov but the referee is unimpressed at the winger's cries for a spot-kick.Seconds later, Declan John advances down the left and whips in a superb delivery which is met by the unmarked Simon Church, but the Charlton striker can only send his header over the crossbar.
Macedonia go close to opening the scoring as Nikolce Noveski wastes a gilt-edged chance to give his side the lead.James Collins can only hack clear from a corner, and when the ball is returned into the area, Noveski is lurking but can only thrash the ball over the bar after rounding Wayne Hennessey.The Wales backline stood still hoping and waiting for the offside flag, but it never came. A huge let-off.
Craig Bellamy forces a corner on the left after good work between himself and Andy King and from the following corner, Vance Sikov has to head away before James Collins can get to the loose ball.Aaron Ramsey then delivers a set-piece into King, who steers a controlled volley but it deflects away off Ezgjan Alioski.
Wales have started to turn the screw in the last few minutes and twice get into promising positions.First, Neil Taylor cuts in from the right onto his favoured left foot and curls a shot which Tomislav Pacovski does well to catch first time.Declan John is then disappointed by a heavy left-wing cross after a neat team move.
Andy King and Aaron Ramsey link up neatly on the edge of the Macedonian box but the ball is cleared by Muhamed Demiri before the hosts could threaten.Mirko Ivanovski then tries his luck with an audacious chip from 20 yards out but is woefully off target.
Hal Robson-Kanu and Mirko Ivanovski have a clash of heads in midfield with the Macedonian coming off considerably worse.Robson-Kanu isn't about to sympathise, however, and releases the onrushing Simon Church, but Nikolce Noveski is quick across the ground to retrieve the ball and put it out of play so his teammate can be treated.
Macedonia break but the returning James Collins does well to intervene as Goran Pandev bore down on goal.Aaron Ramsey then shows some silky footwork to make his way down the byline but his cross is intercepted at the back post.
Chris Gunter tries to feed Craig Bellamy down the left with a lovely through-ball but Ostoja Stjepanovic cuts out the danger.Wales continue to press, though, and are denied a penalty when Hal Robson-Kanu goes down under pressure just inside the area.
Aaron Ramsey, typically combative in the middle of the park, hauls down Muhamed Demiri but the free-kick from Ostoja Stejpanovic is wayward and goes out for a throw-in. It has been a tight opening here, with neither side really gaining control of the ball yet.
Macedonia almost get in down the left after Mirko Ivanovski plays a neat one-two on the edge of the box but Wales break forward well at the other end, with Aaron Ramsey escaping down the right only to be thwarted by debutant Ezgjan Alioski.
Little in the way of any goalmouth action so far as both sides size each other up while maintaining possession in the early stages here.
And we're off, as Macedonia get us underway here at the Cardiff City Stadium.
The players are observing a minute's silence prior to kick-off to remember Tegwyn Evans, a former president of the Football Association of Wales.
Macedonia, meanwhile, bring in Muhamed Demiri, Ezgjan Alioski - promoted from the U21's setup - and Daniel Ivanovski to contend with injury problems of their own.Tonight's visitors, who beat Wales 2-1 last month, are without influential winger Ivan Trickovski, who scored the opener in that win.
Wales have been decimated by injury, with Gareth Bale, captain Ashley Williams and Joe Allen amongst 11 absentees this evening.James Collins returns to the first-team fold after settling differences with manager Chris Coleman, while Declan John earns a first cap for his country.Aaron Ramsey skippers his side on a night which will be Craig Bellamy's final home match as a Welsh international, having announced his retirement.Wales' injury list is so crippling that Liverpool's 16-year-old winger Harry Wilson has been drafted in, a player who was just one when Bellamy made his Wales debut.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE commentary for Wales v Macedonia. The Welsh go into tonight's penultimate Group A encounter bottom of the table but face a side just one point and one position above them this evening.The pre-match talk has centred around Chris Coleman's future but it is Macedonia who have tasted a mangerial change since last month's win over tonight's hosts.Chedomir Janevski stood down as the Macedonia manager and has been replaced by interim coach Zoran Stratev, who will be hoping to enhance his credentials for the full-time post with a win this evening.
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