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Aufhauser snatches Austrian win

Wednesday, 30 March 2005

By Raimund Fabi at Ernst Happel stadium

[1] Four days after defeating Wales 2-0 with two late goals in Cardiff, Austria repeated the trick at home thanks to a René Aufhauser effort three minutes from time.

Late winner

[2] Aufhauser's shot sneaked through the legs of Burnley FC goalkeeper Danny Coyne, who has not played a competitive first-team game since October, to keep Austria within four points of their next opponents, second-placed Poland, in FIFA World Cup qualifying Group 6.

Welsh dominance

[3] However, Austria were more than a little fortunate to win a game Wales dominated at times. Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy, leading the attack in the absence of the injured John Hartson, had six great chances between them, but there was no way past Austrian custodian Helge Payer, who produced a world-class performance to keep his team in the game.

Payer saves

[4] Wales, fired up by Saturday's result, attacked from the start and in the opening seconds Bellamy broke through but was denied by Payer, who the striker beat eight minutes later but the effort was disallowed for a foul. On 20 minutes Giggs was sent through on goal, but again Payer produced a save.

Coyne stop

[5] Coyne then got in on the action, saving Andreas Ivanschitz's free-kick, while at the other end Bellamy was sent clear by Simon Davies but shot over. Roland Kirchler then had an effort from 20 metres out for Austria though, like Bellamy, his strike was too high.

Vastic arrives

[6] The second half started much like the first, with Austria under pressure. Again Payer did well to block a close-range Giggs volley, after which home coach Hans Krankl brought on Ivica Vastic for Mario Haas, reinvigorating the Austrian attack.

Woodwork struck twice

[7] Vastic went close twice soon after arriving, before Ivanschitz then hit the post. Ten minutes later Vastic also struck the woodwork, and from the ensuing break Bellamy again had a chance, but failed to find the target.

Dramatic end

[8] Despite Vastic's interventions, it still seemed Wales were the more likely winnersd. But then came Aufhauser's low and apparently innocuous effort from just outside the box that caught out Coyne.

Wales out

[9] With leaders England and Poland both winning, any mathematic chance Wales had of reaching Germany have now gone despite having four games left - the first at home to their neighbours on 3 September, the day Austria make the trip to Poland.

Austria's Andreas Ivanschitz (left) is watched by Carl Fletcher