Wales’ World Cup hopes dented by Serbia

Wales’ hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup were dealt a severe blow as Aleksandar Mitrovic’s late equaliser for Serbia denied them victory in Cardiff.

Despite a strong start from the visitors, Gareth Bale fired Wales ahead after the tireless Hal Robson-Kanu forced Serbia’s Matija Nastasic into a mistake.

An occasionally scrappy but absorbing encounter featured chances at both ends and, just moments after Bale hit the post, Mitrovic headed in to stun the Cardiff City Stadium into silence.

With the Republic of Ireland’s win in Austria taking them top of Group D, Serbia and Wales stay second and third – two and four points behind Martin O’Neill’s men respectively.

Having drawn their previous two games, it was imperative Wales did not lose more ground on their rivals in a tantalisingly tight group.

And although the draw means Chris Coleman’s men remain unbeaten, the four-point gap between them and the Republic of Ireland is a significant one with only one team able to qualify automatically from the group.

It also sets up a mouthwatering match between the two sides in Dublin on 24 March.

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