Jayne Ludlow Praises Wales After Russian Mission Boosts World Cup Campaign

Wales Women had a late penalty claim waved away to deny them the chance of picking up an historic win over Russia in St Petersburg, where they drew 0-0 on Tuesday.

A magnificent defensive display, superbly marshalled by Wales skipper Sophie Ingle, kept the visitors in the contest in difficult conditions and when Kayleigh Green went down under a challenge from the Russian goalkeeper Tatyana Scherbak in stoppage time it was Welsh fans who thought they would get a shot at winning the game.

But the referee, Vesna Budimir, waved away the appeals for a penalty and the game ended in a goalless draw.

That was good enough to ensure Wales remained unbeaten in their World Cup qualifying campaign against a team sitting 11 places above them in the world rankings.

It was a second successive clean sheet for Jayne Ludlow’s side, who now have four points from two long road trips at the start of their bid to reach the World Cup finals for the first time. They can now look forward to hosting Kazakhstan at the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday, 24 November.

Wales goalkeeper Laura O’Sullivan brought off two superb saves in the first half to deny the dangerous Elena Danilova, while Liverpool’s Natasha Harding almost gave Ludlow’s side a sixth-minute lead with a curling effort that forced Scherbak to make a great save.

Ludlow gave rising US-based teenage star Peyton Vincze a debut, but she was replaced by Nadia Lawrence in the second half.

Ludlow said: “It was important that we came here and got at least a point. The girls worked extremely hard and defended very well, but we are happy with a draw.

“The players understand that this is a long competition and it’s important to travel to these places and get something.

“In previous campaigns we came to these places and got beaten fairly convincingly. We are now seeing a development within the squad and that’s a real positive for us – it’s a hugely positive result.

“They (Russia) are ranked well above us and have been involved in major tournament finals over the past few years.

“So for us to come out here and nearly nick it at the end with a penalty shout that wasn’t given, there were so many positives to take from the game.”

Russia: Scherbak, Kozhnikova (c), Sheykina, Cholovyaga, Smirnova (Morozova, 70), Belomyttseva, Danilova, Fedorova, Ziyastinova, Karpova, Chernomyrdina (Pantyukhina, ht)

Wales: O’Sullivan, Dykes, Ingle (c), Roberts, Harding, James, Green, Fishlock, Rowe, Ladd, Vincze (Lawrence, ht)


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