Doha, Nov 21 (EFE).- Gareth Bale converted a crucial penalty attempt in his World Cup debut as Wales overcame an early deficit to draw 1-1 on Monday against the United States.
The first and second halves of that Group B contest at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, a suburb of Doha, were polar opposites, with the Americans dominating possession over the first 45 minutes but then finding themselves on their heels after the intermission.
Wales’ inauspicious start in their first World Cup match since 1958 nearly led to an own goal in the ninth minute. Fortune then smiled on the British side moments later when American forward Josh Sargent almost scored on a header that went just wide of the post.
But the US’s dominance finally paid off when Chelsea midfielder Christian Pulisic played an expert through ball to Tim Weah, who poked a shot past keeper Wayne Hennessey to give the Americans the lead in the 36th minute.
Wales, however, overcame their early jitters after the break.
Time of possession, which the US had dominated to the tune of 67 percent to 33 percent in the first half, started favoring the Welshmen and that led to their first golden scoring opportunity in the 65th minute on a header by Ben Davies that American goalie Matt Turner tipped over the crossbar.
That served as a prelude to the equalizer, which came in the 82nd minute after American defender Walker Zimmerman carelessly brought down Bale inside the box.
The 33-year-old Welsh captain and former Real Madrid star made no mistake on the penalty try, powering a left-footed blast that traveled just inside the right post and well out of Turner’s reach
The American net minder, however, staved off disaster for his side when he saved a shot by Brennan Johnson from a tight angle in the 89th minute.
The US will square off in their second of three Group B matches against England on Friday in Al Khor, while Wales will be back in Ahmad bin Ali Stadium that same day to take on Iran. EFE