Wales were denied a win to mark Chris Coleman’s new contract as manager as Riku Riski scored a stoppage time equaliser to cancel out Andy King’s opener.
King headed in after 58 minutes, meeting Hal Robson-Kanu’s chipped cross to give Wales a 1-0 lead. However, after being played in by Roman Eremenko, Riski raced through on goal in stoppage time to finish past Wayne Hennessey and salvage a 1-1 draw for the visitors.
Gareth Bale was handed his first start for Wales since making his world record transfer to Real Madrid, but he failed to have any real impact on the tie despite testing the Finland keeper with a number of long-range drives.
A first half of few chances made for a timid opening, with both sides feeling their way into the game. However, Celtic striker Teemu Pukki came closest to opening the scoring, crashing a shot against the post having wriggled free of several Welsh defenders inside the box.
Hal Robson-Kanu was providing an outlet for Wales on the counter attack on the left wing but it was from a set piece that he came close to beating Lukas Hradecky. Bale’s delivery found the Reading player at the back post, drawing a great save from the keeper, but the flag was raised for a foul by Ashley Williams.
Wales had claims for a penalty kick waved away by the referee in the second half after Simon Church’s legs appeared to be clipped by Joona Toivio. Replays showed there had been contact but not enough to warrant a spot kick.
King gave his side the advantage just before the hour mark, finding the near post with a neat header following good build up play by Robson-Kanu and Joe Ledley down the left wing.
Finland pressed forward in search of an equalizer, with Riski proving a nuisance in attack. And the Finnish striker nearly levelled the score, forcing Hennessey into a low save to his left to stop a shot from finding the net.
Bale grew into the game as it progressed and took advantage of tired legs in the opposition to position himself deeper before driving to the edge of the box. Finland struggled to deal with this tactic but had their keeper to thank for making a couple of good saves from the former Spurs winger.
However, Coleman’s men were denied a morale boosting victory when Riski was released through on goal to chip calmly past the advancing Wales keeper and restore parity.
- Sports & Recreation
- Riku Riski
- Gareth Bale
- Wayne Hennessey