Wales 1-0 Austria

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Liverpool striker Ben Woodburn was eligible to play for England until his match-winning appearance from the bench against Austria

Teenager Ben Woodburn scored with a brilliant long-range strike four minutes after coming on for his international debut to breathe new life into Wales’ bid to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Needing victory to maintain a realistic prospect of qualifying automatically, Wales were overrun by Austria in a goalless first half in which Marko Arnautovic and Marcel Sabitzer wasted good opportunities for the visitors.

The hosts continued to toil – seemingly to no avail – after the break until the 74th minute, when 17-year-old Woodburn unleashed a fierce 20-yard shot to send a packed Cardiff City Stadium wild.

With Serbia’s victory over Moldova strengthening their position at the top of Group D, Wales remain four points behind the leaders with three games left.

However, Chris Coleman’s side have closed the gap on the second-placed Republic of Ireland to two points following a draw for Martin O’Neill’s men in Georgia.

Only the nine group winners in Europe’s qualifying procedure automatically earn a place in next year’s tournament in Russia, while the eight best runners-up enter the play-offs.

And although Wales’ hopes of qualifying automatically remain out of their hands, the fact they still have any chance at all – and the manner in which Woodburn ensured that was the case – made for a delirious atmosphere in Cardiff.

More to follow.

Follow reaction to Wales v Austria here


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