Wales 1-1 Switzerland: Moore earns Dragons a point in Baku

Wales and Switzerland played out a 1-1 draw in Saturday's Group A clash, with Kieffer Moore cancelling out Breel Embolo's opener.

Agency News Contributor

Updated - 12 June 2021 10:40 pm

Kieffer Moore headed home to earn Wales a 1-1 draw with Switzerland in their opening Group A match at the Baku Olympic Stadium. The Cardiff City striker was recalled to Wales' starting line-up for Saturday's clash and justified interim boss Rob Page's selection call by earning his side a crucial point.

Switzerland had won their previous six games and were on course for another victory when Breel Embolo guided in Xherdan Shaqiri's corner early in the second half.

However, Vladimir Petkovic's side could not hold on and were further frustrated late on when substitute Mario Gavranovic had a goal ruled out for offside.

The draw leaves Italy top of Group A following their 3-0 win over Turkey in Rome on Friday.

Wales started the match brightly and went close to opening the scoring 15 minutes in through a Moore header that Yann Sommer did well to push over the crossbar.

Danny Ward was called into action up the other end to deny Fabian Schar after the centre-back turned Shaqiri's corner on target with a smart flick.

Switzerland soon took control of possession and squandered another big chance before half-time when Haris Seferovic fired off target from seven yards once teed up by Embolo.

The two men combined early in the second half as Seferovic played in his teammate to race through and force Ward into a second big save of the contest.

However, Embolo held off Connor Roberts from the subsequent corner and headed Shaqiri's delivery past Ward into the bottom-left corner.

Kevin Mbabu scuffed wide from a good position and Switzerland struggled to make more of their possession, which would come back to haunt them 16 minutes from time.

Joe Morrell sent in a cross from the right and Moore, a presence at both ends of the field throughout, glanced a header in to get Wales off the mark.

Gavranovic thought he had won the game for Switzerland moments after being introduced from the bench, but his left-footed strike was ruled out following a VAR check.

What does it mean? Swiss made to pay

Switzerland are now unbeaten in their last six European Championship games in normal time, but this draw may well feel like a disappointing outcome for Petkovic and his players.

They had 64 per cent of the ball and had twice as many attempts as Wales, though they were ultimately made to pay for a failure to kill off the game when a goal ahead.

Wales had keeper Ward to thank for making three top-class saves, leaving Group A wide open in what could be a tight race to finish second behind heavyweights Italy.

Bale's lack of impact

Daniel James was a threat for Wales before being taken off, but Gareth Bale had another quiet outing on the opposite flank. The Real Madrid forward struggled to get into the game and mustered just one shot, which failed to find the target, though his 21 passes in the opposition half was the most by any Wales player.

Moore the merrier

Moore's equaliser was his sixth goal for Wales in 18 appearances, four of those scored with his head. He helped out in defence with four clearances – only two players on the pitch managed more – as well as getting a couple of attempts on target.

Key Opta facts

- Wales are unbeaten in their past two matches in all competitions against Switzerland (W1 D1), having lost five of their first six (W1). This was the first draw between the nations.

- Wales have lost just one of their last 14 competitive matches - 3-1 against Belgium in a World Cup 2022 qualifier in March (W9 D4).

- Embolo had six shots in the match, two more than any other player. No one has ever attempted more for Switzerland in a single European Championship fixture.

- Moore has scored four of his six international goals with his head, while three of Wales' past four goals in the tournament have been headers.

- Granit Xhaka made his 95th international appearance, making him the fifth-most capped player for Switzerland behind Heinz Hermann (118), Alain Geiger (112), Stephan Lichtsteiner (108) and Stephane Chapuisat (103).

What's next?

Switzerland take on Italy in Rome on Wednesday in their next Group A outing, while Wales stay in Baku for a showdown with Turkey on the same day.

SOURCE- OPTA