Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Chris Coleman counts his blessings over Gareth Bale who puts in man-of-the-match performance for Wales

Wales 2 Austria 1

Chris Coleman, the Wales manager, admits it is hard to keep Gareth Bale out of the limelight following his man-of-the-match showing in this win over Austria.

The Tottenham winger hit the headlines once again in Swansea after opened the scoring in the 21st minute for his 10th international goal before providing the cross for Sam Vokes' 52nd-minute header.

It was only Wales' second victory in seven games under Coleman, and Bale's national manager was in full appreciation of the 23-year-old's talents after another superb display left the Austrians dazed in an excellent 59-minute cameo.

Coleman, whose side won without the injured Aaron Ramsey who returned to Arsenal with a calf complaint, said: "When Gareth keeps doing things like that, it's very difficult not to talk about him. Not many players are able to do what he does. His finish for the first goal was excellent and it was a great cross for Vokes. He is such a threat.

"He changes the feeling of the game for the opposition because they are wary of him. It's such a big positive. He has done two things tonight that, like I say, not many other players are capable of.

"Wins have been hard to come by in the last 12 months and this has given us a little bit of momentum It helps in terms of confidence and nudges us in the right direction ahead of two tough World Cup qualifiers next month."

Wales face a double-header with Scotland and Croatia then, but with Bale in the form of his life, Coleman's side believe anything is possible moving forward.

Bale said: "We knew it was a friendly but we wanted to take it seriously. It was important to get a win, especially at home and it will give us more confidence. I enjoyed my 60 minutes and it was great to get out there and get a win for my home nation."

Marko Janko halved the deficit for Austria, and Coleman fired a warning to the Republic of Ireland manager, Giovanni Trapattoni, whose side take on Marcel Koller's team in a Group C showdown at Dublin's Aviva Stadium next month.

Coleman said: "It won't be an easy game for Ireland. I was impressed with the Austrians and I think they will cause them problems.

"Austria are an exciting team. They pass the ball very well, good movement and their captain is a very good player.

Wales (4-5-1): Myhill; Matthews (Gunter, 73), Ricketts, Williams, Davies; Bale (Robson-Kanu, 59), Allen, Vaughan (King, h-t), Ledley, Collison (Church, 84); Bellamy (Vokes, h-t).

Austria (4-4-2): Almer; Pogatetz, Suttner (Schiemer, 88), Prodl; Klein, Ivanschitz (Junuzovic, 61), Alaba, Kavlak (Leitgeb, 75); Arnautovic, Weimann (Jantscher, 62), Janko.

Referee M Masiah (Israel).