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Wales off to winning start
 Women's Football Wales International News - 18 Sep 2017
Kazakhstan 0 Wales 1 (Fishlock 54)
Wales got their World Cup qualifying campaign off to the perfect start following a narrow victory over Kazakhstan in Astana.
Jessica Fishlock scored the winner ten minutes into the second half, capitalising on a poor punch from goalkeeper Oksana Zheleznyak before volleying the ball into an empty net from just outside the box.
The victory extended Wales' fine recent form in qualifying matches, with Jayne Ludlow's side having lost just once in their last seven competitive fixtures.
But the scoreline could have been greater as the visitors dominated for long periods at the Astana Arena, creating several good opportunities before securing victory.
Wales started the game on the front foot as both Kayleigh Green and Fishlock went close in the opening 20 minutes.
But they found Zheleznyak in good form, as the Kazakhstan stopper saved on two occasions, while at the other end the home side had a rare sight of goal when captain Begaim Kirgizbayeva forced a save from Laura O'Sullivan.
Wales finished the half strongly, however, as Rhiannon Roberts fired over inside the box and Green headed wide at the near post after good work from Fishlock.
Despite a goalless first period, it was the way that the visitors started the second half that eventually paved the way for victory.
With ten minutes played, a corner from the left wasn't properly cleared by the goalkeeper and as the ball fell to Fishlock just outside the box, the midfielder produced a sublime piece of skill to volley the ball back over the stranded group of players and into the net.
Again, the dominance in possession followed as Wales sought a second goal that would have ensured a far less frantic finale, as Kirgizbayeva went close to drawing the hosts level when her 25-yard effort just evaded the top corner.
But Ludlow's side held out to seal their first victory in qualifying ahead of next month's trip to Russia.
Kazakhstan: Oksana Zheleznyak, Aida Gaistenova (sub Anastassiya Vlassova 80mins), Bibigul Nurusheva, Shokhista Khojasheva, Begaim Kirgizbayeva, Yekaterina Krasyukova, Adilya Vyldanova (sub Zuleira Abisheva 60mins), Svetlana Bortnikova, Yuliya Nikolayenko (sub Yuliya Shiryayeva 65mins), Yekaterina Babshuk, Karina Zhumabaikyzy. Subs not used: Irina Sandalova, Asselkhan Turfybekova, Mariya Demidova, Valentina Penkova.
Wales: Lauren O'Sullivan, Loren Dykes, Gemma Evans, Sophie Ingle, Rhiannon Roberts (sub Charlie Estcourt 45mins), Natasha Harding, Angharad James, Kayleigh Green, Jessica Fishlock, Rachel Rowe, Hayley Ladd. Subs not used: Claire Skinner, Hannah Miles, Nadia Lawrence, Georgia Evans, Alice Griffiths, Elise Hughes.


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