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LOI ref Neil Doyle in charge of feisty friendly draw between Wales and Albania

There were seven yellow cards dished out in a 0-0 draw in Cardiff.

Image: PA

WALES’ WERE SENT on their way to the European Championships with a feisty 0-0 draw with Albania in front of 6,500 fans at the Cardiff City Stadium. 

League of Ireland referee Neil Doyle was in charge of the game, and he dished out seven yellow cards in a game that carried an edge that belief its status as a pre-tournament friendly game. One of those yellow cards went to Wales’ Rhys Norrington-Davies,  who was booked for shoving Rey Manaj into Albania manager Edoardo Reja, with the 75-year-old veteran taking a touchline tumble. 

Wales start their European Championship campaign in a week’s time against Switzerland and will need a much-improved display when the tournament begins in Baku.

For the most part, it was a frustrating exercise for interim manager Robert Page as Wales created few chances.

The entrance of Gareth Bale from the substitutes’ bench breathed life into the contest and Wales had late openings to avenge their 2018 friendly defeat to Albania.

Bale’s arrival 19 minutes from time instantly produced panic in the Albania penalty area for Neco Williams to sting the palms of goalkeeper Gentian Selmani with the game’s first shot on target.

Moments later Kieffer Moore tested Selmani again after being picked out by a delicious Bale cross, but Albania held firm in the closing stages.

The match was the first time since November 2019 Wales have been able to welcome fans back to the Cardiff City Stadium.

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Despite not having much to cheer, they gave the players a rousing send-off in a lap of honour at full-time.

Wales will also face Turkey and Italy in Group A of Euro 2020.

© – AFP, 2021, with reporting by Gavin Cooney

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