Bulgaria 0-1 Wales: Jonny Williams' late strike seals victory

Substitute Jonny Williams' first international goal secured Wales a late 1-0 victory against Bulgaria and ensured they moved back to the top of their Nations League Group.
 
In a game of very few clear-cut chances, Williams, brought on in the 72nd minute, emphatically turned home Neco Williams' low cross five minutes from time to secure all three points for Ryan Giggs' side.
 
Williams' first for Wales
Jonny Williams has scored his first senior goal for Wales, on his 25th appearance for his country.
 
Victory sees Wales, who are unbeaten in nine competitive matches, regain top spot in Nations League Group B4 and move one point clear of Finland, who beat Republic of Ireland 1-0 earlier in the night.
 
Giggs' team now have two home matches against Republic of Ireland and Finland in November as they look to seal promotion to the top tier of the Nations league.
 

How Wales snatched victory late on

Jonny Williams celebrates scoring for Wales vs Bulgaria
 
Wales operated with an unfamiliar back three, but they looked comfortable in the early stages.
 
They applied plenty of early pressure with a series of set-pieces and Joe Rodon went close, hooking over the crossbar from close range.
 
Harry Wilson wasted a wonderful free-kick position, sending his attempt from a central position over, and Daniel James' low drive was deflected wide as Wales continued to dominate proceedings.
 
The game really sparked into life after the break and the Bulgaria players were left seething when James crashed into Cicinho for the Manchester United winger to earn a booking.
 
Wilson was also cautioned before testing Mihaylov from a 25-yard free-kick, but Bulgaria went close when Kiril Despodov's cross just evaded the unmarked Bozhidar Kraev in front of goal.
 
Rabbi Matondo, on for James, almost made an instant impact with a curling shot, but the lasting impression of his night was blazing over from a few yards after being picked out at the far post by Roberts.
 
Wales had to handle the final 10 minutes with a new goalkeeper as Adam Davies replaced the injured Wayne Hennessey, but there was still time for them to win the game, reclaim top place in the group and extend their unbeaten run in competitive football to nine games, with substitute Williams the hero.
 

Williams: I wondered if goal would ever come

Wales forward Jonny Williams:
 
"It's an amazing moment, I wondered if I would ever get my first goal for Wales but here we are.
 
"When we saw the group we wanted to be favourites to win it and we have given ourselves a great chance now.
 
"We are missing some key players so to come away from here with three points is brilliant.
 
"We have built a foundation where we keep a lot of clean sheets and we know if we keep going we have a chance."
 

What the manager said

Ryan Giggs felt Wales deserved their 0-1 win against Bulgaria and was particularly proud of the performance of the younger players.
 
Wales boss Ryan Giggs: "I thought we deserved the win. We played so well in the first half, it got scrappy at times in the second half but we kept going.
 
"That is a good trait to have, scoring late goals is too, so it is a really proud moment for a young team. I'm also proud because they kept trying to play the right way.
 
"We have players missing but it has given the chance for players to come in."
 

Opta stats - Wales' impressive form

Wales can qualify for the top tier of the Nations League next month
 
Wales have won three consecutive internationals against Bulgaria for the first time, more victories than in their previous seven games combined (W2 D1 L4).
 
Wales are unbeaten in their last five competitive away games (W3 D2), their joint-longest such run in their history (also two five-game unbeaten runs under Chris Coleman).
 
Wales are unbeaten in four consecutive games in the UEFA Nations League (W3 D1), without conceding a single goal.
 

Wales player ratings

Wales: Hennessey (7), N Williams (8), Mepham (7), Rodon (7), B Davies (7), Norrington-Davies (7), Ampadu (7), Smith (6), Roberts (7), Wilson (7), James (6).
Subs: Matondo (7), J Williams (8), Levitt (6). A Davies (n/a)
Man of the match: Neco Williams
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