Belfast Telegraph

Disjointed Wales suffer early 'blip' as Georgia hit back to earn a draw

Wales 1-1 Georgia

By Phil Blanche

Chris Coleman insisted it was "not the end of the world" after Wales' World Cup ambitions were dented by a 1-1 home draw with Georgia.

Gareth Bale put Wales in front with a towering 10th-minute header - his 25th international goal - and Coleman's side seemed on course for three points after dominating the first half.

But Georgia, ranked 137th in the world and a whopping 127 places below Wales, were impressive after the break and levelled through Tornike Okriashvili's 57th-minute header.

Georgia almost grabbed a winner when Valeri Kazaishvili's drive clattered off the crossbar, but Coleman still saw this as two points lost against opponents they had been expected to beat.

"I'd have been amazed if we'd gone through the campaign without a blip and without somebody giving you a little tap on the shoulder to just remind you how difficult it is at this level," Wales manager Coleman said.

"I'm disappointed that we've only got one point and I'm disappointed also with how we went about certain parts of our game.

"I'm not used to being disappointed at the end of 90 minutes with this lot.

"But it's not the end of the world, there's a lot to play for. It's only three games in. It's a blip."

Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales were without influential midfield pair Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey through injury.

But Coleman was in no mood to make excuses after Georgia claimed their first World Cup qualifying point of the campaign following defeats to Austria and the Republic of Ireland.

"Once we go ahead we're good enough to do better than what we did in the second half," he added.

"We looked fatigued, we looked disjointed.

"We've just had a little slap around the back of the head to say: 'hold on a minute, it's not all plain sailing'."

Coleman felt Wales should have finished the game off in the first half when Georgia were struggling to contain the pace and power of Bale.

He added: "For whatever reason we came out in the second half and for five or 10 minutes were all right, then we sat back and invited them on.

"They've got good enough players to create something. On our day, when we're at our best, we'd go 1-0 up in a game like that and come away with the points.

"But we looked indecisive defensively, individually, for large parts of the second half.

"We just kept backing off and backing off, and we haven't done that for a long time."

Georgia coach Vladimir Weiss expressed disappointment that his side had not secured the second victory of his seven-game reign.

"I would have a settled for a point before kick-off, but after the game I think about our quality and good attacks," Weiss said.

"We showed them a little bit of respect at the start, but it was a good result for us in the second half.

"We still have a chance (of qualifying) because everyone draws at home and we need to take some points in our home games.

"We have one point, which is not a lot, but we showed good football."

Belfast Telegraph


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