Real Madrid boosted as Bale avoids calf tear

Tom Lawrence's second-half strike gave Wales the vital victory in Group D. Wales will secure play-off qualification if they avoid defeat against Republic of Ireland in a crucial clash on Monday, and can even win the group if they beat Martin O'Neill's side and Serbia fail to beat Georgia.

The big news for Wales is the omission of star forward Bale, who picked up a muscle strain playing for Real Madrid against Borussia Dortmund last week.

Wales have not won a competitive match away from home without Bale since 2009.

Wales travel to Georgia on Friday evening without Gareth Bale, but looking to cement second spot in World Cup Qualifying Group D.

REIGNING world champions Germany visit Belfast tomorrow night and in many respects Northern Ireland can treat this as a glamorous exhibition game. He made no such mistake after the interval, though, collecting Ramsey's pass, turning away from his marker and smashing the ball into the far corner for his first Wales goal. "But it's not like when I first played for Wales, because the gaffer has options and players who can come in, do a job and help to get those three points". Wales was 4 points ahead of the Republic of Ireland who also was fighting against Moldova.

Wales boss Chris Coleman has praised the performance of Tom Lawrence after the winger scored the winning goal for the Dragons in their 1-0 triumph over Georgia.

Meanwhile, Republic of Ireland - now four points behind Wales in the race to finish second - host Moldova in their game in hand. "We've got a world-class player missing ourselves in Seamus Coleman", he said. But I think his level of Spanish is higher than what he shows when he is doing interviews.

Georgia are an improving team who are unbeaten in five games, including draws in their last three qualifiers.

- Wales are now unbeaten in their last nine global games (W4 D5); their longest run without defeat under Chris Coleman, who took charge in 2012. After two wins over Austria and Moldova, we have momentum behind us but make no mistake, two more wins are needed from our remaining two games.

"The extra 10 or 12 minutes they had, I'm not sure that would make a big difference". 'At first we didn't look into it but then gradually a few photos got together and it was very bad, so we just thought we may as well keep it the same.

  • Julie Sanders