Wales suffered a heavy blow in Zenica. Their 1-0 defeat against hosts Bosnia & Herzegovina leaves the Welsh team five points behind the top two teams in their Uefa under-21 Championship group.
Manager Rob Page fielded a strong side at the BH Training Centre, Zenica, including top scorer George Thomas and senior international David Brooks.
Bosnia attacked from the start with a series of low shots from outside the box which were calmly saved by goal keeper Luke Pilling.
Wales settled into the game and their best effort of the half was a Brooks free-kick which narrowly missed the far post.
The game opened up in the second half with both teams finding more space.
Wales’ defence were put under pressure by Bosnia’s threatening crosses from both flanks, but the deadlock was broken by a moment of magic.
A long range effort from 30 yards by Darko Todorovic sailed over goalkeeper Pilling’s head and into the top corner.
Page sent on Dan James and Rabbi Matondo for some attacking edge and Wales piled on the pressure.
Former Cardiff City junior Matondo, now playing for Manchester City, went close with a close range shot which went over the bar, while Brooks went down in the penalty area.
The referee, though, judged the challenge was fair.
“We had three great chances and we had to finish them,” said Page. “If you don’t, you don’t deserve anything, but we should have had a penalty.”
The result means the under-21s are now five points behind both Bosnia & Herzegovina and Romania. Wales will face Liechtenstein and Portugal at home in their next two qualifying matches.
Wales: Luke Pilling, Cameron Coxe, Regan Poole, Joe Rodon, Cian Harries, George Thomas (Rabbi Matondo), Jack Evans, Mark Harris, David Brooks, Joe Morrell (Dan James), Aaron Lewis
Subs not used: 12 Owen Evans, 12 Rhys Abbruzzese, 13 Robbie Burton, 16 Alex Babos, 18 Liam Cullen
Group eight details:
Results so far: Bosnia 6, Liechtenstein 0; Switzerland 1, Bosnia 0; Liechtenstein 0, Romania 2; Bosnia 1, Romania 3; Switzerland 0, Wales 3; Romania 1, Switzerland 1; Portugal 2, Wales 0; Liechtenstein 1, Wales 3; Switzerland 0, Romania 2; Bosnia 3, Portugal 1; Liechtenstein 0, Switzerland 2; Romania 1, Portugal 1; Wales 0, Bosnia 4; Portugal 2, Switzerland 1; Wales 0, Romania 0; Bosnia & Herzegovina 1, Wales 0; Portugal 7, Liechtenstein 0.
Tuesday 27: Switzerland v Portugal (4pm)
Tuesday 27: Liechtenstein v Bosnia (5pm).
Friday 7: Bosnia v Switzerland.
Friday 7: Portugal v Romania.
Friday 7: Wales v Liechtenstein.
Tuesday 11: Wales v Portugal.
Tuesday 11: Romania v Bosnia.
Tuesday 11: Switzerland v Liechtenstein.
Thursday 11: Liechtenstein v Portugal
Friday 12: Romania v Wales
Tuesday 16: Wales v Switzerland
Tuesday 16: Portugal v Bosnia
Tuesday 16: Romania v Liechtenstein.
Uefa under-21 Championships Group 8
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||6||4||0||2||15||5||10||12|