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Page last updated at 18:59 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 19:59 UK

Wales U21 0-1 Romania U21

Ched Evans
Ched Evans led the Wales attack with Sam Vokes

Wales Under-21 wasted a golden chance to seal a qualifying play-off place for next year's Uefa Championship finals after losing to Romania in Wrexham.

Adrian Ropotan claimed the goal that gave Romania victory, Wales dozing as Gabriel Torje clipped in a free-kick.

Brian Flynn's young side created a glut of chances but were unable to find the goal to seal their passage.

Wolves striker Sam Vokes was most culpable, putting over two first-half headers that he should have converted.

Wales still lead Romania by a point at the top of Group 10 but the Romanians have a game in hand.

However, qualification is still in Wales' hands as their final group game is the return in Romania on 9 September.

Win that and a Wales team will still be in with a chance of making a major finals for the first time since the senior side featured at the 1958 World Cup.

Wales suffered an early scare when goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey hesitated as a free-kick arced in from the left.

That sparked a goalmouth scramble but the big Wolves stopper redeemed himself with a fine block as the ball was fired towards the Wales net.

Wales composed themselves after that nervous start and soon had the alarm bells ringing at the Romanian end.

Ched Evans drifted out to the left of the area and clipped in a reverse pass for strike partner Vokes, who could only find the midriff of goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu with his scuffed shot.

Romania were generally solid through the middle of the park but were starting to be picked apart on the flanks, where Gareth Bale had licence to roam down either side.


Tottenham's 10m man carved out a great chance for Dave Edwards from one flowing attack down the right, although Tatarusanu was out of his goal quickly to smother the danger.

Romania continued to struggle with Wales' accurate crossing and only survived because Vokes was having a poor night in front of goal.

The Wolves frontman wasted two gilt-edged opportunities to head Wales in front.

First Vokes flashed a strong chance just over the bar, after the hard-working Evans had again worked space for himself to curl a cross onto his team-mate's forehead.

Then as the half-hour mark approached it was Bale providing the ammunition, only for Vokes to again head over from even closer in.

Despite some pleasing football played by both sides the game remained deadlocked at the break.

The half was marred only by a late scuffle sparked by Evans sliding in on keeper Tatarusanu as he chased a loose ball, both players booked for their troubles.

Wales continued their dominance after the restart, with Shaun MacDonald and Bale both drawing saves from the busy Tatarusanu.

Bale also failed to connect with a Darcy Blake cross that flashed across the face of goal.

But then on 65 minutes Wales were caught by a sucker-punch as they went to sleep at a Romanian set-piece.

The red shirts were static as Torje curled in a free-kick that found Dinamo team-mate Ropotan free in the Wales area.

Ropotan flicked out a foot and claimed the goal - although there was some doubt he made contact - as the ball bounced into the bottom corner past the left hand of the despairing Hennessey.

Wales redoubled their efforts and Rhys Williams almost rescued a point with seven minutes left, only for the Middlesbrough defender to see his shot deflected onto the Romania crossbar.

Then in the dying moments Bale unleashed a rocket that seemed destined for the back of the net, only for Tatarusanu to fly across his goal to palm the ball away.

Wales Under-21: Wayne Hennessey (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Chris Gunter (Tottenham Hotspur), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur), Rhoys Wiggins (Crystal Palace), Darcy Blake (Cardiff City), David Edwards (capt, Wolverhampton Wanderers), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Shaun MacDonald (Swansea City), Sam Vokes (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Ched Evans (Manchester City).
Subs: Kyle Critchell (Wrexham), Owain Fn Williams (Stockport County), Lloyd James (Southampton), Mike Williams (Wrexham), Mark Bradley (Walsall), Jonathan Brown (Cardiff City), Simon Church (Yeovil Town).

Romania Under-21: Ciprian Tatarusanu (FC Gloria Bistrita), Alexandru Tudose (Gloria Buzau), Hristu Chiacu (CS Otopeni), Adrian Ropotan (Dinamo), Stefan Radu (Lazio Roma), Emil Ducu Ninu (Gloria Buzau), Laszlo Sepsi (Racing Santander), Cristian Tanase (FC Arges), Gabriel Torje (Dinamo), Bogdan Stancu (FC Steaua Bucuresti), Claudiu Andrei Keseru (FC Nantes).
Subs: Costel Panitilimon (FC Timisoara), Srdjan Luchin (FC Timisoara), Stefan Adrian Mardare (Rapid Bucuresti), Florin Patrascu (FC Farul Constanta), Alexandru Paul Curtean (Gaz Metan Medias), Razvan Ochirosii (Steaua Bucuresti), Raul Rusescu (Unirea Urziceni).

Referee: Firat Aydinus (Turkey).

see also
Flynn rallies young Wales charges
20 Aug 08 |  Internationals
Toshack blasts 'schoolboy' errors
20 Aug 08 |  Internationals
Wales 1-2 Georgia
20 Aug 08 |  Internationals
Premier-primed Evans set for U21s
19 Aug 08 |  Internationals
Flynn hails Welsh World Cup hopes
20 Aug 08 |  Internationals
'Old' stadium claims world record
20 Aug 08 |  North east
Country profile: Romania
09 May 08 |  Country profiles
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Internationals
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales

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