Lockyer and Sluga on the bench as Wales and Croatia both win

Town duo are unused subs in World Cup qualifiers

Monday, 6th September 2021, 9:19 am
Updated Monday, 6th September 2021, 9:20 am
Gareth Bale celebrates his winner against Belarus

Luton defender Tom Lockyer was an unused substitute as Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick in Wales' last-gasp 3-2 World Cup qualifying victory over Belarus in Russia on Saturday.

Despite impressing in the 0-0 friendly draw with Finland on Wednesday, Lockyer dropped to the bench for the Group E clash, as the visitors made a great start, Bale felled in the area by keeper Sergei Chernik on five minutes, as he got up to convert the spot-kick.

Joe Allen saw his shot saved by Chernik, as Daniel James fired wide, but with half an hour gone, the hosts levelled when Chris Gunter fouled Nikolai Zolotov, Vitali Lisakovich making no mistake from the spot.

Centre-backs James Lawrence and Chris Mepham were then both caught out of position as Belarus turned things around to lead 2-1 moments later, Pavel Sedko scoring.

The home side might have led further at the break, Aleksandr Sachivko and Danila Klimovich both missing fine opportunities.

In the second period, Wales equalised on 69 minutes when Ben Davies was pushed in the back and Bale stepped up to score his second penalty of the game.

Then, with just 60 seconds of injury time left, the Real Madrid winger had his third, when a volley squirmed under Chernick and into the net.

Wales now host Estonia in their next qualifier on Wednesday.

Town keeper Simon Sluga was also on the bench as Croatia won 1-0 in Slovakia on Saturday.

Despite regular number one Dominik Livakovic not starting, his place went to Ivica Ivušić as Sluga once more had to make do with a place among the substitutes.

Marcelo Brozovic gabbed the only goal of the game on 86 minutes as Croatia host Slovenia on Tuesday.

Full back Amari'i Bell didn't play as Jamaica lost 3-0 at home to Panama in their World Cup qualifier on Sunday night.