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World Cup Qualifying - UEFA
Republic of Ireland
WC Qualification Europe
September 6, 2013
• Nacionalna Arena Filip II Makedonski, Skopje
Referee: S. Kever
• Attendance: 18000
I. Tričkovski 20'
A. Trajkovski 80'
A. Ramsey 39'
Well, whether you followed the coverage of the game backing Macedonia or Wales (or indeed, just as a neutral), I hope you enjoyed the game and the coverage provided here on Goal. I've been Tom Davis and you've been great - enjoy the rest of your evening.
The visitors will be dissapointed with that defeat though, which could see them end the night bottom of the group should Scotland defeat group-leaders Belgium (which is just about to kick off). Bale has scored four of their seven goals in these qualifying rounds and they missed his attacking threats today.
Cedomir Janevski will undoubtedly be pleased with that victory. What a great way for the locals to start their weekend fun as well, as Macedonia celebrates their national day of independence on Sunday. It was a complete performance all-round for the home side: solid in defence and quick on the counter attack.
90' + 4'
FT: Macedonia have clinched victory after a closely-fought 2-1 victory over a Bale-less Wales tonight.
90' + 3'
Matthews has given a free-kick away deep into the Macedonia half and that might just be it for Wales as we enter the final minute.
90' + 2'
We're in the Macedonia half but Wales aren't in possession. The home side are ever closer to their second win of the group, seeing them climb two places to fourth.
Wales have been given four added minutes in order to find an equaliser.
Gligorov is down on the floor injured, which will run down the clock nicely. But the midfielder is back up on his feet now as play continues as the fourth official looks to hold up the board of added time.
Wales may have only picked up six points from their opening games, but they were still mathematically capable of clinching a play-off place before this game. How you ask? Well, victory here coupled with a Serbian win over Croatia could have done just that. Defeat is staring them in the face though with just minutes of play remaining.
Kostovski has come off for Macedonia with Mojsov coming on.
That's your lot for Wales as their final subsitution of the game sees Sam Vokes on the pitch in place of Vaughan. No Bale from the bench, then.
Sam Ricketts has come off the worst here after an outstretched leg from Pandev seems to have put him in some discomfort.
Goal Aleksandar Trajkovski
GOAL! Macedonia have taken the lead! Second-half substitute Aleksandar Trajkovski picks up the ball on the edge of the box and drives a low shot into the bottom right of the goal. The 21-year-old only celebrated his big birthday yesterday - what a present this is!
Yellow Card Andrew Crofts
Georgievski has come off for the home side with Lazevski entering the fray. It looks like Ristovski will switch to right-back with the new addition slotting in on the left.
Macedonia are looking to make a change here and so are Wales. Adam Mattthews is the man coming on.
"What's he doing?" ask the Welsh fans as central-defender Sam Ricketts charges forward and wins a corner for his side. Everyone's pushing for a winner here but once again the set-piece is wasted.
Bellamy falls down in the box appealing for a penalty but play is waved and Macedonia break again. They're doing this with great pace and numbers. The game is so open now.
CHANCE! End-to-end action here and another poor delivery from a Welsh corner allows Macedonia to counter attack. The ball is squared to Trickovski as he approaches the penalty area but Myhill gets down low to foil.
Bellamy has earned another corner for his side after playing the ball against the defender. Not sure what the corner count is for them at the moment, but they must surely make good use of one of these soon?
The full-backs have been omnipresent for Wales and Gunter bombs forward to earn another corner. But the delivery comes to nothing.
Ben Davies was so close to getting on the end of a low cross then for Wales, but just can't stretch his foot out far enough. He scored a terrific goal for Swansea over the weekend and that would have certainly made his week.
There's just over half an hour left in this game but there's plenty of time for a winner. Could go either way at the moment.
It's Brighton midfielder Andrew Crofts who comes on for the injured Williams, not Bale.
Trajkovski has come on for Ibrahimi for the home side.
Williams looks like he may have to come off for Wales after an earlier knock. It's a big blow for Coleman, but will this spark the arrival of Gareth Bale?
Yellow Card Agim Ibraimi
Collison again has a chance for Wales after an intelligent ball over the top from Ramsey found the midfielder racing through on goal. But the high-ball wouldn't drop for Collison and the keeper claims.
The resulting corner comes to nothing however, as a foul is given against Wales for a challenge in the box.
Gunter has won a corner for Wales. Jontahan Williams fired in a cross from the left-hand side which was cleared, but the full-back shielded the ball as it rolled out of play.
Incidentally, Wales are yet to record a single draw on the road to Brazil. I don't think they will be starting here today the way play is going.
The second half has started as the first half ended. Both looking comfortable on the ball and both looking like they can carve out a scoring opportunity. It's still level though.
Yellow Card Jovan Kostovski
Collison comes close for Wales! The visitors had men forward and as Ramsey holds the ball in the box, the West Ham midfielder rushes onto a pass but his left-footed shot falls just inches wide from the far post.
An early corner for Wales but Bellamy swings the ball out of play from the right-hand side before it finds the head of a teammate.
The second half is underway!
The players are back on the pitch now and we're looking ready to go for the second half.
The first ever meeting between the two sides has ended in stalemate at half time but you can't argue about the action. Sloppy defending, handball appeals, penalties conceded and drama right before the whistle. There's certainly more goals to come in this game.
45' + 3'
HT: The whistle blows for half time and it's 1-1 between two of the group's strugglers. We have been well entertained so far though and the drama continues as the players head towards the tunnel with Pandev still complaining about his booking just moments earlier.
45' + 2'
Yellow Card Ashley Williams
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Goran Pandev
Bit of drama to end the half as Ramsey falls to the ground after colliding with an opposing player. Pandev attempts to pick him up - albeit by his shirt - and the Arsenal player reacts angrily.
Bellamy is all smiles after chasing a ball in the Macedonia half. He has reason to be tonight mind you: his appearance today is his 74th for Wales, making him the third most capped player alongside Dean Saunders.
It's a deserved equaliser for Chris Coleman's side who have performed much better since going a goal down. Macedonia can have no complaints with the penalty decision against Trickovski - the right-winger going from hero to zero.
Yellow Card Nikola Gligorov
Penalty Goal Aaron Ramsey
GOAL! Ramsey has despatched the penalty! 1-1.
PENALTY! Wales have been given a penalty after the goal-scorer Trickovski takes out Ramsey inside the area. It looked clumsy and now Wales have a chance to level.
Ben Davies has taken a knock after a challenge from Georgievski at right-back. He's back up on his feet though after the Wales attack peters out.
Bellamy fires a flat ball into the box from the set-piece but Collison can't quite get enough direction in his header as it loops well over the bar.
Free-kick again for Wales and this could be dangerous for Macedonia.
Wales have reacted well since going behind and are playing some good football in their opposing half as they commit bodies forward. The Macedonia defence is looking sturdy though.
OFF THE BAR! Bellamy hits a free-kick from far out but his curling shot crashed off the post as Tome looked on haplessly. He was desperately unlucky there and the re-bound didn't favour Wales either with two players lurking in the box but not enough to carve out a second chance.
Macedonia nearly doubled their lead through Pandev, who hit a stinging shot straight at Myhill after Trickovski found him in space.
Not the start Wales wanted in this game. They still have a slight chance of qualification but they won't get it with defending like that.
Yellow Card Craig Bellamy
Goal Ivan Trickovski
GOAL! Macedonia have taken the lead here! David Vaughan gave away a cheap free-kick outside the box, but, despite it being hit into the wall, the danger wasn't clear. Trickovski reacted the quickest and poked the ball into the net for his first goal in 20 games for his country. 1-0.
Yellow Card David Vaughan
The home fans were searching for a free-kick in the penalty area as a ball bounces off a Wales defender during a challenge and into the arms of Myhill. It was never a back-pass though and appeals are waved.
Another fine ball from deep there from Wales, this time with Bellamy latching on to the pass. Only Davies was forward for him in support and the chance is wasted.
Chance for Wales! Ledley threads a fine ball in for Williams running through the middle, but the winger can't quite release the ball from his feet and Tome in goal clears the danger.
It's worth noting the visitors weren't happy with the condition of the pitch at the Philip II Arena. It does look cut up and that may affect their play today.
Macedonia have started well and don't look like a side lumbering at the bottom of the group. But the visitors are starting to get a feel for more of the ball now after some initial high pressure from the Eastern Europeans.
Wales with another chance to break with Ramsey on the right, but his cross was overhit. In truth there wasn't much to aim for anyway, but the visitors need to push more men in the box.
Macedonia are apealing for a penalty here as Ibraimi's attempted cross from the right-wing hits Jonathan Williams on the hand. But the officials aren't interested. It would have been a harsh decision though as the Crystal Palace winger had his arms placed firmly at his side.
Nearly an early chance for Wales as Bellamy latches on to a loose pass, but the Cardiff striker looses the ball just as Ramsey was looking to provide support from deep.
And we're off! Macedonia start the game kicking from right to left!
The players are on the pitch and we're minutes away from the game.
MACEDONIA XI (4-2-3-1): Tome; Georgievski, Sikov, Noveski, Ristovski; Gligorov, Tasevski; Ibraimi, Trickovski, Pandev; Kostovski.
Okay folks, the teams are in! WALES XI (4-2-3-1): Myhill; Gunter, Ricketts, Williams, B Davies; Vaughan, Ledley; Collison, Ramsey, J Williams; Bellamy.
But without Bale available for the entire match – a player who has scored four of Wales’ six qualifying goals so far – how will they fare? Stick with us to find out!
Both sides are lingering down the bottom with only the visitors harbouring any real chances of qualification for their place in Rio next year. Even so, those chances are looking remote.
Macedonia are looking for victory to take them off the bottom of the group and may just have a good shot at doing so with their impressive home record – winning six and losing just two of their last 10.
Bale joined the squad in Cardiff on Monday following his £86 million transfer to the Bernabeu, but even though he has trained all week, Wales have insisted he is not fit for the entire 90 minutes. Indeed, it is from the bench where we will see Bale today - rest of the team news with you shortly.
Interest in Bale during the press conferences was escalated due to the fact manager Chris Coleman wasn’t there to discuss his own team. He lost his passport at home and missed the preparations!
The pre-match build-up to this game has been somewhat heightened now it features the most expensive player in world football – Real Madrid winger, Gareth Bale.
Hello and welcome, football lovers. My name is Tom Davis and I’ll be guiding you through Goal’s coverage of this afternoons World Cup qualifier as Macedonia look set to welcome Wales.
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