Wales 2 Austria 1
Wales boss Chris Coleman fired a warning shot at Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni after his side overcame Austria in Swansea last night.
Gareth Bale inspired the Dragons to only their second win in seven games with a 21st minute opener before providing the assist for Sam Vokes’ 52nd minute header.
Austrian captain Marko Janko halved the deficit for the visitors at the Liberty Stadium with 15 minutes remaining, but it proved too little, too late.
Ireland face Austria at the Aviva Stadium in a crunch Group C showdown in Dublin next month and Coleman warned: “It won’t be an easy game for Ireland. I was impressed with the Austrians and I think they will cause them problems.
“I watched them against Germany and, even though they lost 2-1, they caused them a lot of problems.
“Austria are an exciting team. They pass the ball very well, good movement and their captain is a very good player.
“They attacked very well which we expected and they are very aggressive offensively and send bodies forward. They made a lot of chances and they are a decent team.”
Austria created chances, yes, but this is a not a performance that should concern Trapattoni too much.
But, then again, does the Italian currently possess a player of Gareth Bale’s quality? The answer would have to be an emphatic no.
Bale ran the show once again to leave Austria coach Marcel Koller a frustrated figure.
Koller said: “This wasn’t good preparation for us to face the Republic because we lost. But we wanted to play a game in the UK to test ourselves against the physical aspect of the game and how we can cope with that. In that regard, it was very useful for us.
“Wales are in a difficult group and they haven’t had much luck so far. But if they continue playing like they did against us then who knows in the future they could qualify for a major tournament.
“We know that Ireland are a team who are above them in the world rankings and they also played in the European Championships.
“We have to travel to Ireland and we expect it will be a difficult game.”
Despite the scoreline, Austria contributed to an entertaining encounter by carving open Wales on numerous occasions, but failing to find the net.
Wales’ Boaz Myhill denied Andreas Ivanschitz, Marko Arnautovic and Sebastian Prodl in the first period with Bayern Munich’s David Alaba hitting a post with a superb left-footed effort.
By that time, Bale had opened the scoring, latching onto Joe Allen’s pass to cut inside Markus Suttner before slotting the ball beyond Robert Almer for his 10th international goal in 39 caps.
Bale then provided the right-wing cross for Burnley striker Vokes to head past Almer and double Wales’ lead before Trabzonspor hitman Janko scored to set up a grandstand finale.
WALES: Myhill; Matthews (Gunter 73), Ricketts, Williams, Davies; Bale (Robson-Kanu 59), Allen, Vaughan (King, 46), Ledley, Collison (Church 84); Bellamy (Vokes, 46).
AUSTRIA: Almer; Klein, Prodl, Pogatetz, Suttner (Schiemer 88); Weimann (Jantscher 62), Kavlak (Leitgeb 76), Alaba, Arnautovic; Ivanschitz (Junuzovic 62); Janko.
Referee: Menashe Mesiah (Israel).
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