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Wales 1 (Green 85)
Austria won 3-2 on penalties>
Austria 1 (Puntigam 13)
Wales 1 (Green 85)
Austria won 3-2 on penalties
Wales ended their 2018 Cyprus Cup campaign with an impressive 1-1 draw against last year's UEFA European Championship semi finalists Austria.
Manager Jayne Ludlow made five changes to the team that held Switzerland to a goalless draw and the youngsters were challenged by a full strength Austrian side including striker Nina Burger who was representing her country for the 100th time. Gwen Davies and Kylie Nolan were given their first starts for Wales and both players looked comfortable in midfield alongside Jessica Fishlock and Melissa Fletcher.
Austria took an early lead after Sarah Puntigam connected well with a volley at the edge of the box. Despite Austria pushing the pressure on Wales, the back line kept their shape and frustrated the Austrians in their efforts to push through. Wales had more chances towards the end of the half, and striker Helen Ward was unlucky not to connect a bicycle kick attempt in the closing stages.
Ludlow made several changes at the start of the second half, bringing on youth and experience as Angharad James, Amina Vine, Gemma Evans and Hannah Miles entered the fray. Austria could have doubled their lead near the hour mark as they hit the crossbar, but Wales' brave defending made sure very few chances threatened goalkeeper Laura O'Sullivan.
With less than fifteen minutes remaining, striker Kayleigh Green came on the pitch and made an instant impact with her chasing and closing down. The hard work paid off with minutes remaining as Green intercepted a poor back pass, rounded the keeper and placed the ball into the empty net to equalise.
As the full time whistle blew with the game drawn, a penalty shootout took place to decide Wales' final place in the tournament. Wales lost the shootout 3-2, giving them an eighth placed finish in the tournament, but there were positives in abundance from the tournament for a Welsh side that faced a higher FIFA ranked side in every match they played.
Austria: Jasmin Pfeiler (sub Manuela Zinsberger 45mins), Sophie Maierhofer, Katharina Schiechtl (sub Laura Wienroither 82mins), Sarah Zadrazil, Nina Burger, Viktoria Schnaderbeck (sub Laura Feiersinger 45mins), Virginia Kirchberger, Barbara Dunst (sub Carina Wenninger 45mins), Nicola Billa (sub Stefanie Enzinger 62mins), Jasmin Eder (sub Jennifer Klein 65mins), Sarah Puntigam.
Wales: Laura O'Sullivan, Loren Dykes, Sophie Ingle, Rhiannon Roberts (sub Kayleigh Green 81mins), Alice Griffiths, Jessica Fishlock (sub Amina Vine 45mins), Charlie Estcourt, Melissa Fletcher (sub Nadia Lawrence 59mins), Helen Ward (sub Hannah Miles 48mins), Kylie Nolan (sub Gemma Evans 45mins), Gwen Davies (sub Angharad James 45mins).
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