Armenia 1-1 Wales: Euro 2024 qualifying – as it happened | Euro 2024 qualifying
Ben Fisher was at the Republican Stadium and his report is in. Thanks for reading this MBM. Join us again on Tuesday evening as Wales take on Turkey while hoping Armenia do them a favour against Croatia.
The draw was the result neither team wanted, but it was a fair one on the night. Wales were the better side in the first half, but Armenia were the more likely winners in the second, and came very close when Vahan Bichakhchyan hit the underside of the bar. Edgar Sevikyan had a huge chance to settle it just before the end as well. Lucas Zelarayán’s early goal was also a peach. Wales can have few complaints.
Wales no longer have their destiny in their own hands. Should Croatia win in Latvia tonight, then follow up that result with victory over Armenia in Zagreb on Tuesday, they qualify automatically for Euro 2024. Wales, who host Turkey on the same evening, are not guaranteed a play-off place. Armenia meanwhile will be unable to qualify should Croatia win this evening.
A great result for Croatia. For Wales and Armenia, not so much.
90 min +5: … and now Spertsyan looks for the top-right corner from 25 yards, but the ball sails inches over the bar. Wales go up the other end and Johnson tumbles in the box, but Arutiunian hasn’t touched him. No penalty.
90 min +4: Armenia should score. Miranyan pelts down the right. He cuts back for Zelarayán, who composes himself on the edge of the D but instead of shooting dinks down the right channel for Sevikyan. He’s clear … but drags a panicked shot wide right!
90 min +3: Armenia take a quick free kick and Sevikyan is sent scampering clear down the right! But it’s relief for Wales, because the free kick had been taken from the wrong spot, and the ball was rolling to boot. Then Sevikyan takes a foul throw! This is absurd.
90 min +1: Spertsyan tries to score direct from the resulting corner! Ward shovels it out for another corner, then Haroyan heads harmlessly over to release the pressure on Wales. Four more additional minutes to play.
90 min: Miranyan drives down the middle of the park with Wales light at the back. He slips a diagonal pass to Sevikyan, just inside the box on the right. Sevikyan opens his body and shapes a shot towards the top left. It’s going in … but Ward tips brilliantly around the post!
89 min: Johnson drives down the right and wins a corner. Dan James takes. Mepham rises highest but can only loop a header away from goal. This is beyond tense. Both teams now in desperate Go For It mode!
88 min: A long free kick is pumped into the Armenian box. Ampadu wins a header but flaps it weakly straight at Chancharevich, who claims without fuss this time. The hosts go up the other end, where Tiknizyan lashes witlessly over from a tight angle with team-mates in the box.
86 min: Dashyan dances in from the right. Spertsyan shuttles the ball across the face of the box for Zelarayán, who hoicks over. Both teams are living on their nerves now. Time running out.
85 min: Williams crosses from the right. Moore sends a weak header towards the bottom left. Chancharevich saves, but again makes a ten-course tasting menu of it, parrying before claiming.
84 min: Ampadu has a dig from the best part of 30 yards. The ball flies 30 yards over the bar. He had options on either flank. On the touchline, Rob Page performs the internationally recognised mime for calming down.
82 min: Tiknizyan spins down the middle and feeds Spertsyan down the inside-left channel. Spertsyan shoots. Williams flings himself in the road to deflect over. The resulting corner if fizzed through the Welsh six-yard box, but Miranyan can’t connect to force home. Wales have suddenly become a little ragged.
80 min: Haroyan beats Moore in a footrace down the inside-left channel. He had to, because otherwise Wales were three on one. Armenia go up the other end and win a corner through Harutyunyan. From the set piece, Zelarayán shoots from a tight angle on the left. Over the bar it goes.
79 min: Nathan Broadhead comes on for Connor Roberts.
78 min: Jordan James is booked for a cynical tap on the in-flight Spertsyan’s ankle. He had to take one for the team with Armenia threatening a dangerous counter.
77 min: Wales play a little keep-ball, to the soundtrack of irritated whistling.
75 min: … and the denizens of the Republican Stadium know it. Quiet and tense.
73 min: Williams cuts in from the left and skies a shot miles over the bar. This is opening up, with both teams aware that a draw is realistically not a great deal of use to them.
72 min: Harutyunyan bursts down the left and crosses low, towards Miranyan at the near stick. Rodon manages to hook clear. Calisir shoots from distance but wildly.
71 min: Armenia make a forward-thinking double change. Sevikyan and Miranyan come on for Bichakhchyan and Ranos.
69 min: Dan James scampers down the left and cuts back, teeing up his namesake Jordan, who shoots towards the bottom right. Chancharevich parries but mishandles. Moore can’t get to the loose ball and the keeper makes good his mistake by claiming it at the second opportunity. Chances are Moore would have been flagged offside had he slotted.
67 min: A simple long ball down the middle nearly does for Wales, but Ward gathers on the edge of his box ahead of the in-flight Bichakhchyan.
66 min: Wales send on Dan James for Harry Wilson.
65 min: Bichakhchyan backheels cutely down the right to release Dashyan, who sends in something that’s neither a shot nor a cross. Wales mop up.
64 min: Iwu can’t continue. He’s replaced by Harutyunyan.
62 min: That was a sensational effort by Bichakhchyan, who had no time or room to work with. Wales breathe again.
61 min: Armenia come so close to retaking the lead! Bichakhchyan, on the edge of the Wales D and facing away from goal, turns to his left and sends a glorious no-backlift shot looping towards the top-left corner. Ward is beaten all ends up, but the ball bounces off the underside of the bar and back out to Zelarayán, who skies the rebound high and wide. He’d have been offside.
60 min: Both teams have become a little tentative. No risks yet. They’ll have to roll the dice at some point, though: a draw’s no use to either team. Armenia would be unable to qualify; Wales would have their destiny taken out of their own hands.
58 min: A news story on the aforementioned pre-match arrests.
57 min: Spertsyan shoots ambitiously from the best part of 30 yards. The ball flies harmlessly over the bar.
56 min: Iwu went down with nobody around him, and appears to have tweaked his groin. He’s not been replaced yet, though.
54 min: Haroyan crashes cynically into Wilson, who was breaking upfield at speed. Armenia aren’t happy because Iwu was down injured; Ampadu is miffed because of the brazen challenge. Haroyan and Ampadu are both booked; the Armenian captain will miss the final match in Croatia.
53 min: Haroyan slides in hard on Moore, then James hauls down Ranos. For the first time, the match turns a little feisty.
51 min: Ranos shimmies down the inside-left channel and flicks on to Tiknizyan, who shoots from a tight angle. It’s blocked out for a corner, but the kick won’t be taken because the flag goes up correctly for offside.
50 min: Wales make the first change of the evening. David Brooks makes way for Brennan Johnson. Not sure whether that’s tactical or injury-enforced.
48 min: … but other than that, it’s a quiet start to the half.
46 min: Bichakhchyan drives towards the Welsh box. For a second, it looks like he’ll be working some space to shoot, but he over-elaborates, then falls onto the ball in desperation, looking for a foul. The referee does indeed award one, albeit to Wales.
Wales get the second half underway. No changes.
Half-time entertainment … and there’s us thinking the Welsh Reni hat was the height of football fashion.
… and all of a sudden the picture changes! The equaliser was the very least Wales deserved; Rob Page’s side responded very well to conceding Lucas Zelarayán’s fine opening goal. They’ve got their reward, and can now start the second half looking for the winner they desperately need to keep automatic qualification in their own hands.
Roberts flings a long throw into the Armenian box. At the near stick, Rodon rises. Tiknizyan challenges, and flicks the ball into the top right of his own net!
45 min: There will be three additional first-half minutes.
43 min: Iwu sends Bichakhchyan haring off down the right. Bichakhchyan appears offside, but the flag doesn’t go up. He shoots. Rodon blocks and clears, then effs and jeffs at the linesman in the critical style.
42 min: Moore leaps for a high ball only to land awkwardly. It doesn’t help that Arutiunian, who was also challenging, accidentally stands on the back of his leg. To be fair to Arutiunian, he was looking the other way, and Armenia immediately put the ball out so Moore can get treatment. Thankfully it’s not serious and he’s soon up and running again.
40 min: Spertsyan drives down the left at pace, and for a second Wales look in a spot of trouble. But James holds him up well, then Mepham comes across to help. The pair clear their lines.
38 min: Chancharevich punches the resulting corner clear. “I feel Matt Dony’s pain,” writes Simon McMahon of our 19th-minute friend. “Non-qualification for major tournaments, especially after a long period of success, is hard to bear. Should Wales fail to make Germany, I hope they don’t have to wait another twenty years. Thoughts and prayers etc. Oh, and whisky does help.”
37 min: James sends Williams scampering down the left. Williams cuts back for Wilson, who aims towards the top right. A fine rising shot, but it’s met well by Chancharevich, who tips around the post.
35 min: Rodon somehow manages to hoof the ball up into his armpit, where it sticks. Neat juggling trick but it’s a handball. Happily this mini-fiasco plays out on the halfway line and doesn’t cost Wales anything.
33 min: Ranos drives with great purpose towards the Welsh box. He shapes to shoot only to be denied by Ampadu’s excellently timed tackle from behind. That’s a wonderful intervention.