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Author Archive for Stuart James at the Cardiff City Stadium

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Cardiff in full voice but Republic of Ireland fans sing longest and loudest | Stuart James

Republic of Ireland’s fans were outnumbered by 10 to one, but injury to Joe Allen and a goal from James McClean ensured the volume was turned down on Wales

It was billed as the biggest game in this country since 1993 and for Wales the sense of deja vu come the end was suffocating. Once again the World Cup finals will pass them by, just as they did 24 years ago, when Paul Bodin’s penalty kick thudded against the crossbar in their critical qualifier against Romania. This time it was the Republic of Ireland’s turn to spoil the party as Martin O’Neill’s side kept alive their own hopes of travelling to Russia next summer with the sort of victory that has become the manager’s hallmark.

Ireland may not be easy on the eye but there is something to be admired about their uncanny knack for grinding out results when it matters most. There was the victory over Germany in October 2015, the triumph against Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Euro 2016 play-offs, and that 1-0 win over Italy to reach the last 16 in that summer’s finals in France. The scalp of Wales, who had not lost a competitive match on home soil for four years, has now been added to the collection.

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Cardiff back on top as Kenneth Zohore’s double takes Leeds down a notch

It was one of those occasions that Neil Warnock revels in as Cardiff City leapfrogged Leeds United, a club where he spent 14 months in charge a few years ago, to finish the evening enjoying the view from the top of the Championship and laying down a marker for the rest of the season. Kenneth Zohore scored twice – his first goals in nine appearances – and Junior Hoilett got the other on a night when Leeds were unable to cope with the intensity of Cardiff’s play.

Warnock has now won all four league meetings against his former club and this was another hugely impressive performance from a team who have been transformed under his watch. Second from bottom when Warnock took over as manager almost 12 months ago, Cardiff are now dreaming of a return to the Premier League.

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Southampton’s Dusan Tadic considers protective mask for Liverpool match

• Winger suffered suspected broken nose against Wales from kick
• Serb also willing to play in friendly against Ukraine on Tuesday

Dusan Tadic believes he suffered a broken nose against Wales when Neil Taylor accidentally kicked him in the face but the Southampton winger has not ruled out playing against Liverpool on Saturday and will consider wearing a protective mask to give him every chance of being available.

The 27-year-old required lengthy treatment on the side of the pitch during Saturday’s 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw against Wales, with his face covered in blood after Taylor caught him on the bridge of the nose. Tadic later returned to the action with cotton wool stuffed up his nose to stem the bleeding but admitted he was struggling to breathe at times.

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Ashley Williams calls on wasteful Wales to deliver victory in Dublin

• Wales playing catch-up and need to beat Ireland in World Cup qualifier
• Gareth Bale strikes but Wales squander lead in 1-1 draw with Serbia

Ashley Williams accepts Wales may have to win all of their remaining World Cup qualifying matches to finish top of their group after they squandered a lead for the third game in succession to leave their hopes of reaching Russia hanging in the balance.

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s header five minutes from time, and less than 60 seconds after Gareth Bale had hit an upright at the other end of the pitch, earned Serbia a precious point that means Wales are now playing catch-up in Group D and have little margin for error in the rest of their campaign.

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Wales held to damaging Serbia draw after late Aleksandar Mitrovic goal

It was one of those nights when the woodwork made all the difference. With five minutes remaining the width of the post denied Gareth Bale a second goal that would have put this crucial game to bed and less than 60 seconds later the Serbia bench exploded with joy after Aleksandar Mitrovic, the Newcastle United striker, scored via the upright at the other end.

Wales were crestfallen, disappointment written all over their faces at the final whistle after two precious points slipped through their fingers for the third consecutive match in a World Cup qualification campaign that has stalled. “The players are absolutely devastated,” Chris Coleman, the Wales manager, said.

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