Battling Wales go down to France
Wales 1 (Ingle 71)
France 2 (Renard 31, Katoto 57)
att: 4,553; at Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli
Helen Ward chalked up her 100th cap as Wales continued their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign with a narrow 2-
Wendie Renard's first half header and a strike from Marie-
It was a special evening for Watford striker Ward, who was greeted with a standing ovation by the 4,553 attendance in Llanelli, as she joined Gareth Bale, Loren Dykes, Jessica Fishlock, Chris Gunter, Sophie Ingle and Wayne Hennessey in Cymru's 100-
Gemma Grainger made two changes from the 2-
Kadidiatou Diani, who netted in the last meeting between the two sides, posed a threat early on and came close to opening the scoring when she fired a low effort at Laura O'Sullivan's near post.
The Paris Saint-
Carrie Jones enjoyed Wales’ first chance in front of goal when she got the better of defender Eve Perisset, cut inside on her right foot and saw her effort saved by Pauline Peyraud-
Wales had caused problems for the French defence in the opening thirty minutes but they fell behind on the half hour mark after Toletti's corner picked out Renard, who nodded beyond O'Sullivan.
France enjoyed the majority of possession throughout the first half and began the second period in the same vein. Gemma Evans did well to prevent Katoto from getting on the end of an inviting cross from Perisset, but the striker found France's second three minutes later. O'Sullivan looked to get the ball to safety but saw her attempted clearance blocked by Katoto, who was able to stroke the ball home into an empty net.
Down the opposite end, Cymru felt they should have had a penalty when Fishlock weaved past two defenders and went down in the area, but referee Jana Adamkova awarded Grainger's side a free kick outside the box. Fishlock stepped up to take the set piece but saw her effort sail harmlessly over the bar.
However, Wales finally managed to halve the deficit with 19 minutes left on the clock through Ingle. After winning the hosts a corner, Rowe's delivery caused problems in the penalty area and the ball was scrambled away as far as Ingle, whose low shot found its way past Peyraud-
Evans thought she had levelled for Grainger's side just three minutes after the restart when she headed home, but an offside flag cut short the celebrations and denied Wales, who were unable to find a late equaliser as the French side closed the game out for another victory.
Wales: Laura O’Sullivan, Rhiannon Roberts, Rachel Rowe, Sophie Ingle, Gemma Evans, Hayley Ladd, Ceri Holland (sub Helen Ward 90mins), Angharad James, Carrie Jones, Jessica Fishlock, Natasha Harding (sub Ffion Morgan 90mins). Subs not used: Olivia Clark, Poppy Soper, Lily Woodham, Josie Green, Chloe Williams, Elise Hughes, Charlie Estcourt, Georgia Walters, Megan Wynne, Anna Filbey.
France: Pauline Peyraud-