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Wilson magic inspires Wales to Nations League win against Ireland


Dublin (AFP) – Wales midfielder Harry Wilson produced another brilliant free-kick following his heroics against Manchester United to seal a 1-0 Nations League victory against toothless Ireland on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old Derby player, who shocked Old Trafford from a set-piece in the League Cup last month, curled in the winner with his left foot from outside the area just before the hour mark.

The strike was out of keeping with a lifeless contest that looked to be heading for a goalless stalemate, with Wales badly missing Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey and Ireland struggling for inspiration after a miserable run of results.

In the opening stages, Ryan Giggs’s young side were a pale shadow of the team that ripped apart Martin O’Neill’s team in Cardiff last month, with Real Madrid forward Bale and Arsenal midfielder Ramsey among the goals.

The home side started brightly in Dublin and went close to taking the lead inside 10 minutes when Wales midfielder Matt Smith mis-controlled the ball on the edge of his area.

Cyrus Christie seized on the ball and attempted to place a curling shot beyond the reach of Wayne Hennessey but the finish lacked conviction and the goalkeeper palmed the ball away at full stretch.

The second half was also disappointing until Ireland’s Harry Arter slid in late on Connor Roberts to concede the decisive free-kick, with Wilson making Ireland pay dearly.

The visitors should have doubled their lead but James Chester missed a header from close range to seal the points as the game opened up.

Smarting from last week’s 4-1 friendly defeat to Spain, Giggs made five changes, handing senior starts to Leeds teenage striker Tyler Roberts and 18-year-old Manchester City’s Smith, who is on loan at Dutch side Twente.

Bale is injured and Ramsey was in London with his family following the birth of twins.

Chelsea teenager Ethan Ampadu, who starred in the Welsh side’s demolition of Ireland in September’s reverse fixture, missed out due to injury.

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