Bale inspires Wales to win in World Cup playoff semi

Gareth Bale scored both goals as Wales edged Austria 2-1 in their playoff semi-final on Thursday to move a step closer to a first World Cup finals appearance in 64 years.

The 32-year-old struck home a precision free kick in the 25th minute to open the scoring, emphasing his role as the team’s talisman with a superb effort in Cardiff.

It was followed up by quick thinking from a short corner in the 51st minute from which captain Bale scored again to ensure Wales’ progress to a final playoff at home to either Scotland or Ukraine in June.

A deflected shot from Marcel Sabitzer in the 64th minute offered Austria hope of a comeback as a wasteful Wales endured a nervy finish but the home side held on for a deserved win to stay on course for only their second World Cup appearance.

credit: supersports

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