Coleman salutes emerging Wales

Published: Saturday 11th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Wales manager Chris Coleman feels his players have “grown up” after going top of their European Championship qualifying group.

Coleman’s side held talented Bosnia and Herzegovina to a goalless draw at the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday night to make it four points from two games as Belgium and Israel won their first games elsewhere in Group B.

Wales now welcome Cyprus to Cardiff on Monday night and Coleman says it will have been a productive camp if they win that game and make it seven points from nine.

“These players have grown up,” Coleman said about a team missing influential midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen through injury, but who almost grabbed a winner through Gareth Bale in the final seconds.

“They’re not scared of it, they’ve accepted the compliment of being called the ‘golden generation’.

“That’s a huge compliment, I’ve told them they’ve got to earn it and they knew the pressure going into the game.

“There was a big crowd for a reason but they didn’t disappoint. I f we beat Cyprus I think it will have been a productive camp.”

Over 30,000 turned up on the night as fans appeared to fall in love with their team again after several years where apathy has reigned in Welsh football.

They saw Wales having to hold on for long periods as the Bosnians dominated the midfield and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was forced to produce several outstanding saves to prevent the hosts from falling behind.

But Wales rallied at the end and Bale – who was brilliantly denied by Stoke’s Bosnian goalkeeper Asmir Begovic – Hal Robson-Kanu and Ashley Williams all had late chances to score.

“Gareth’s chance was Scotland all over again, when he scored that fantastic late winner,” Coleman said, recalling a World Cup qualifier two years ago.

“I thought he would get a chance but I didn’t expect it to be from the same place, but it was a great save.

“We had other chances and it was a good point and a great performance.

“We had to ride our luck a little bit because they’re a good team.

“You know against teams like that you have to do that because they have enough quality when they’re on their game to hurt anybody.

“We had to stand up to the challenge and we matched them. Wayne pulled off some great saves and we had some chances at their end.

“They kicked us, we kicked them and it was a good old-fashioned international match.

“We never played our best football but we dug deep. In terms of putting it on the line, I felt our players didn’t have anything more to give.”

Coleman felt Bosnia midfielder Miralem Pjanic was fortunate to stay on the field after picking up a first-half booking for felling Jonathan Williams.

Moments later Pjanic fouled Williams again but he escaped with only a lecture from the Russian referee Vladislav Bezborodov.

“We thought he could have been sent off,” Coleman said.

“On another day maybe, because he kicked him again seconds after the first challenge.

“It was a shame because he’s a fantastic player, when you look at him from afar he’s good but when you see him close he’s even better.”

Bosnia coach Safet Susic said he was not disappointed with a point and insisted everything was all to play for in the group.

“The game was as I expected. It was a difficult game,” Susic said.

“We came here to get three points and we took some risks.

“The score is not bad for either team because they are our direct opponents for second place.

“But I think the best players on the pitch were the two goalkeepers.”

Published: Saturday 11th October 2014 by The News Editor

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