Austria 2-2 Wales: Marko Arnautovic Goals Denies Wales Victory

Austria 2-2 Wales: Marko Arnautovic Goals Denies Wales Victory

  • Austria twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Wales in their World Cup qualifying Group D clash at the Ernst Happel Stadium Thursday night

Joe Allen and a Kevin Wimmer own goal put the visitors ahead on two occasions, but Marko Arnautovic pegged the Euro 2016 semi-finalists back both times to earn a point for his side in Vienna.

The top two seeds in the group both went into the match off the back of opening wins, and it was Wales who were the first to seriously threaten when Gareth Bale - scorer of seven of Wales's last 10 qualifying goals before tonight - flicked a header goalwards that Robert Almer did brilliantly to claw away.

Wales were winless in their four previous visits to Austria going into the match - only avoiding defeat once when now-manager Chris Coleman scored the equaliser - but they gave themselves hope of ending that record midway through the first half when Allen put the visitors in front.

The Stoke City man thumped a half-volley past the keeper from the edge of the penalty area for his third goal in his last three games for club and country - the best goalscoring run of his career.

The Potters have struggled in the Premier League so far this season, but their players were having no such trouble on the international stage and it was another one of Mark Hughes's charges who levelled things up shortly before the half-hour mark when Arnautovic nodded David Alaba's cross past Wayne Hennessey.

The hosts almost completed a first-half turnaround when Zlatko Junuzovic fired a powerful volley towards goal, but this time Hennessey was able to get a hand to it to keep the scores level.

It looked as though it might stay that way heading into half time, but a lucky break saw the visitors go into half time ahead via an own goal from Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Wimmer.

A long throw-in was flicked on at the near post to James Chester, who saw his diving header well kept out by Almer, only for the ball to rebound off an unfortunate Wimmer and into the back of the net.

Austria had won each of their last 10 qualifying matches before this evening, and they wasted no time trying to maintain that record in the second half, restoring parity within three minutes of the restart when Arnautovic pounced on a defensive error to run clean through on goal and finish confidently past Hennessey for his second of the evening.

Chester almost gave the visitors a lead for the third time on the night with just over 20 minutes remaining, but his towering header flew narrowly over the crossbar.

That proved to be the last clear chance either side would enjoy as both settled for a point apiece, leaving a four-way tie at the top of Group D alongside the Republic of Ireland and Serbia.

Austria's 10-man winning streak in qualifiers comes to an end due to the result, but they are still unbeaten at home in a qualifier since 2012.

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