Wales’ first-half display reminded Dean Saunders of Tottenham, but Gareth Bale penalty sees them claim deserved point in first World Cup match in 64 years

    Gareth Bale scored Wales’ first World Cup goal in 64 years as his penalty earned his country a 1-1 draw against the USA.

    Wales came roaring back in the second half in a display at odds with their first-half performance reminding former striker Dean Saunders of Tottenham.

    Timothy Weah scored to reward a strong opening 45 minutes for the US

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    Timothy Weah scored to reward a strong opening 45 minutes for the US

    But Bale stepped up to give his country’s travelling fans something to cheer about in the second 45

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    But Bale stepped up to give his country’s travelling fans something to cheer about in the second 45

    Wales had been waiting since 1958 for a World Cup tie, but it wasn’t the ideal first 45 minutes they would’ve been hoping for.

    With no Joe Allen in midfield due to injury, Wales struggled to get out of their own half in the opening 45 minutes as they soaked up the pressure for the US.

    It was no surprise when American star Timothy Weah broke the deadlock in the 36th minute, becoming the first person to score against Wales at a World Cup since Pele in 1958.

    After going in for the break without any notable chances, ex-Wales striker Saunders summed up the first half performance in a way that can be universally understood – at least by football fans.

    “We can’t press, we haven’t pressed once. Out of all the Wales games I’ve watched this is one match where we haven’t pressed. I’m shocked,” he said on commentary for talkSPORT.

    He continued: “This first half reminds me of how Spurs play.”

    Bale gave Wales fans the goal they’d been waiting 64 years for

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    Bale gave Wales fans the goal they’d been waiting 64 years for

    Wales put in a much improved second half showing

    Getty

    Wales put in a much improved second half showing

    The second half was a different story though, with Robert Page bringing on Bournemouth striker Kieffer Moore for Fulham star Daniel James.

    The US failed to have a shot on target after the restart and Wales came painfully close to scoring, only for Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Turner to tip Ben Davies’ effort over the bar.

    Straight after, Wales were unlucky again, with substitute Moore’s header from the resulting corner also narrowly going over the bar.

    Then, with just under ten minutes left on the clock, Wales won a penalty after Walker Zimmerman went sliding in on Gareth Bale in the box.

    Wales’ top scorer grasped the opportunity and converted from the spot, despite Turner getting a fingertip to his effort – sending the sea of Wales fans behind the goal into raptures.

    “Are we surprised?” Saunders said after Wales’ skipper scored.

    “If you ever want someone to take a penalty with ten minutes to go, he’s your man!”

    Wales and the US now go joint second in Group B, with England top after their 6-2 win over bottom side Iran.

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