A late penalty by veteran striker Gareth Bale earned Wales a 1-1 draw with the United States on Monday to avoid a losing return to the World Cup after 64 years in a fascinating Group B encounter at a raucous Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.
Dragged down by U.S. defender Tim Ream in the box, Wales’ all-time top scorer stepped up to the penalty spot in the 82nd minute and made no mistake by hammering the ball into the top corner in front of the “Red Wall” of fans.
With one of the youngest teams at the tournament and themselves returning after eight years, the United States started energetically and took a well-deserved 1-0 lead with a 36th minute goal from Timothy Weah. They were unlucky not to go into the break with a bigger advantage against the flat Welsh.
Weah, the son of Liberian president and former World Player of the Year George Weah, timed his run to perfection after a beautifully-weighted pass from Christian Pulisic and slipped the ball past Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.