Robson-Kanu heads Wales Under-21’s towards euro play-off’s

Posted on September 4, 2010


By Luke James

WALES Under-21’s are in a commanding position to book a Euro 2011 play-off place after a Hal Robson-Kanu header secured a precious three points away in Hungary this afternoon.

Robson-Kanu climbed above his markers to connect with Ashley Richards’ deep free kick on 68 minutes; the ball looped high over the goalkeeper and found the net to spark celebrations and a frantic closing twenty minutes.

Robson-Kanu battling with Hungary's defence

Goal-hero Robson-Kanu nearly became the villain in the closing stages when he missed a penalty kick. Joe Allen’s through ball had sent Robson-Kanu galloping towards the Hungary goal when he was brought down by centre back Andras.

But with a hostile crowd bearing down on the 21-year-old Reading striker he fluffed his lines and his shot was a comfortable height for the keeper to push away from danger.

Inevitably the hosts, spurred on by a large and vocal crowd inside the Sostai Stadium, threw everything at Wales after conceding but Flynn’s young stars fought hard to see the game out.

The result means if Wales avoid losing by two goals or more in Italy on Tuesday they will be guaranteed top spot in Group 3 and book a place in the play-off’s – there is no automatic qualification for finishing top of the group in under-21 qualifying.

Inspired start

Adam Matthews’ rasping free-kick was an inch from giving Wales the lead after just two minutes, signaling Wales’ intent to take the game to Hungary – a side they beat 4-1 at the Racecourse last September in this group.

But Hungary were just as desperate for three points which would have put them top of Group 3 and they had the ball in the net on 19 minutes.

Hungary player handles the ball from corner

The ball was bundled home after dropping in the six-yard box from a corner, but was ruled out after the eagle eyed referee had spotted a Hungarian player flicking the ball on at the front post using his hand.

Although both sides struggled to create clear chances in the first half the hosts were not afraid of trying their luck from range and they troubled Welsh keeper Chris Maxwell on a number of occasions.

And Maxwell nearly gifted Hungary a goal in the opening exchanges of the second half. Maxwell obviously still had his head in the dressing room when he came out to collect a knock down and seemingly take control of the situation, but the ball wriggled free to allow a waiting striker to turn the ball goalwards, thankfully Maxwell was alert enough to leap up and catch the effort.

Hungarian striker András Gosztonyi came close to breaking the deadlock on 55 minutes, his shot from 25 yards was goal bound and curling away from Maxwell’s dive but whistled just past the upright.

That near miss spurred Wales into action and just eight minutes later Robson-Kanu grabbed the winning goal.