Macedonia 2 Wales 1
WALES manager Chris Coleman may have a shiny new passport but he won’t be needing it for next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
Much like Coleman at Cardiff Airport, Wales failed to get off the ground early on against Macedonia and they paid for their slow start on another painfully familiar expedition to Europe.
A penalty from the excellent Aaron Ramsey just before the break cancelled out Ivan Trichkovski’s opener but without Gareth Bale’s stardust they were finally sunk by Aleksandar Trajkovski's 80th-minute winner.
The result confirms, if confirmation were needed, that Wales fans will not be packing their Speedos for the Copacabana beach next summer.
It was a game Coleman’s men could have won, even with the world’s most expensive footballer watching from the bench, but once again they failed to make the most of a promising situation and ended up empty handed.
The visitors were behind on 21 minutes when a free-kick conceded by David Vaughan and taken by Agim Ibraimi deflected off the wall and into the path of Trichkovski.
He reacted quicker than Wolves defender Sam Ricketts, controlled the ball superbly and swept it past Boaz Myhill from ten yards.
It was almost 2-0 six minutes later when Newport’s Chris Gunter slipped, allowing Goran Pandev to drive into the box and force a sharp save from Myhill.
Wales were rocking but Craig Bellamy nearly put them level when his beautifully curled free-kick hit the post from around 25 yards out and Jack Collison failed to control his header from the rebound.
And a topsy-turvy first half did end all-square after Ramsey was tripped by Trichkovski in the box and sent goalkeeper Tome Pachovski the wrong way from the spot on 39 minutes.
Coleman believes Ramsey is playing the best football of his career and he proved his manager right with another sparkling performance in what is shaping up to be a big season for the Arsenal ace.
Shortly after the break he set up Collison in the area but his first time shot was a yard wide of Pachovski’s far post.
The home goalkeeper then got away with a studs up challenge into the chest of Collison as Wales dominated possession but lacked the cutting edge to win the match.
At the other end Napoli striker Pandev went close just after the hour to serve warning to Wales that the hosts were still a threat.
And Trichkovski forced another good save from Myhill with 20 minutes remaining.
But Coleman’s men didn’t heed the warning and Trajkovski’s well taken strike from the edge of the area easily beat Myhill and saw Wales snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once again.
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