Wales U21s ended their June camp with a defeat to Albania U21s after two early goals helped secure a 3-1 win for the hosts in Durres.
ALBANIA U21 3-1 WALES U21
- Tuesday 11 June 2019
- Scorers: E Bullari 9', E Mala 14', A Broja 65', A Lewis (p) 90'
Niko Dovana Stadium, Durres
Rob Page made four changes that narrowly lost to the Albanians two days early. Under 21 debuts were given to goalkeeper George Ratcliffe and centre back Ben Cabango, while Harry Clifton and Mo Touray were given their first starts for the age group.
Albania started the game brightly and were quickly rewarded with only nine minutes on the clock. A long-range effort by Sherif Kallaku flew past Ratcliffe and hit the woodwork but landed favourably to the feet of Emiliano Bullari who made no mistake with the first-time finish.
Five minutes later Alania doubled their lead as a clever through ball was met by Esat Mala who slotted into the bottom corner. After the early setback Wales settled into the game a lot more as Harry Clifton and Jack Evans tried to take control of the midfield. The remainder of the half had very few chances for either team, with Wales’ best chance coming for Nathan Broadhead whose long-distance volley sailed just over the crossbar.
We’ve come here with a number of new players, some from our younger age groups and some who are new to the system. We faced a tough Albania side who have already played three qualifying matches where they have had positive results. There’s been a lot of lessons learnt on this camp that will definitely help us when our qualifiers start in September.
Page made two changes at half time as his side looked for an early goal in the second half, bringing on Liam Cullen and Tom Pugh, Wales’ only scorer in the first match. Their effect on the match was apparent but the wind was blown out of Wales’ sails just past the hour mark as Armando Broja netted Albania’s third goal of the match.
Wales did not give up despite the score line and were rewarded in the closing stages of the game. Rob Page’s side were awarded a penalty in the final minutes after Liam Cullen was pulled down in the box and full back Aaron Lewis made no mistake in putting Wales on the score sheet.
12. George Ratcliffe, 2. Aaron Lewis, 3. Cole DaSilva (19. Liam Cullen 46'), 4. Regan Poole ©, 6. Rhys Norrington-Davies, 5. Ben Cabango, 15. Jack Evans (8. Robbie Burton 60'), 7. Harry Clifton, 9. Mark Harris (17. Tom Pugh 46'), 14. Mo Touray (13. Dan Mooney 60'), 10. Nathan Broadhead (18. Keiran Evans 60')
Subs not used: 1. Kellan Absolom, 16. Brandon Cooper, 21. Niall Huggins, 11. Alex Babos, 20. Tom Price