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Wales book top two place
 Women's Football Wales International News - 13 Jun 2018
 
Wales 3 (Green 48,63, Harding 68)
Russia 0

Wales guaranteed themselves at least a top two place in their World Cup qualifying group after three second half goals gave them a comfortable victory over Russia at the Newport Stadium.
 
Tireless striker Kayleigh Green scored twice as Jayne Ludlow's side deservedly pushed aside a poor Russian team which barely threatened all game, to set up an encounter with England in August which will see the winners qualify for next year's tournament in France.
 
With Russia needing to win to stand any chance of making a play-off place, the importance of game was not lost on either side in the opening stages and there were a number of misplaced passes as the two teams settled down.
 
The first real opening of the game came on 18 minutes as a free kick into the area was not dealt with by the Russian defence and Helen Ward lifted her shot over from the edge of the area.
 
Rachel Rowe did well to dispossess Anna Belomyttseva just outside the area but elected to shoot first time at goal and, although well struck, her effort flew straight at Elvira Todua.
 
Another Wales attack saw Green break down the left and crossed for Ward whose effort was blocked by Alsu Abdullina, Green retrieved the ball and played it across goal for Natasha Harding who shot goalwards but Nadezhda Smirnova did well to block and clear the danger with her head.
 
Wales continued to have the better of possession, whilst Russia continued to make little impression at the other end, but the scoreline was goalless going into the interval.
 
In the opening minutes of the second half, a free kick was floated into the area and, after being half cleared, returned into the centre by Rowe and after Green and Ward both had attempts on goal, Green was on hand to fire in from close range and hand Wales the lead.
 
Ward nearly made it two shortly afterwards which an angled drive which was tipped away at full stretch by Todua.
 
In a rare Russian sortie forward, there was a brief scare for Wales as an Abdullina cross into the area was not held under pressure by Laura O'Sullivan but Loren Dykes did well to block the resulting shot from Margarita Chernomyrdina.
 
Moments later though, Wales were back on the attack and Green broke through from Ward's through ball to neatly lift the ball over the advancing Todua for her second goal.
 
There was an opportunity for a third as Jessica Fishlock intercepted a poor pass and carried the ball towards the Russian area but her own pass towards Ward was also misplaced.
 
Just two minutes later though, Green turned provider when she clipped a through ball into the path of Harding and although her initial shot was blocked by Todua, the rebound fell nicely for the midfielder to tuck her shot into the corner of the net.
 
Wales were dominating against a demoralised Russian side and looked dangerous every time when going forward, particularly through the middle with their pace against the visitors' defence.
 
At the other end, any Russian attacks were easily dealt with by O'Sullivan and her defence, especially Dykes who had an outstanding game in the centre.
 
Green drove a shot over as she looked for her hat-trick and the chance came in the dying minutes as she once again powered her way through on goal but this time she was denied by a fine save from Todua, who blocked with her legs.
 
Wales: Laura O'Sullivan, Loren Dykes, Sophie Ingle, Rhiannon Roberts, Natasha Harding, Angharad James, Kayleigh Green (sub Kylie Nolan 90mins), Jessica Fishlock, Rachel Rowe, Hayley Ladd, Helen Ward (sub Nadia Lawrence 85mins). Subs not used: Claire Skinner, Gemma Evans, Alice Griffiths, Elise Hughes, Hannah Miles.
 
Russia: Elvira Todua, Anastasiya Akimova (sub Alsu Abdullina 32mins), Anna Kozhnikova, Nadezhda Smirnova, Anna Belomyttseva, Elena Danilova, Lipa Yakupova, Elaterina Pantyukhina, Elvia Ziyastinova, Nelli Korovkina, Elena Morozova (sub Margarita Chernomyrdina 58mins). Subs not used: Yulia Grichenko, Irina Podshibyakina, Ekaterina Sochneva, Nasiba Gasanova, Nadezhda Koltakova.

 

 
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