Gareth Bale maintains Wales hope


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Gareth Bale is still feeling optimistic of Wales’ chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup despite conceding late against Serbia in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Wales, who reached the semi-final stage of Euro 2016, went in the clash undefeated but they were five points behind Group D leaders the Republic of Ireland, who had earlier defeated Austria 1-0.

Chris Coleman’s men were in desperate need of all three points and it looked like they were on course for that when Bale fired in an effort from the edge of the box on 30 minutes.

Serbia, who were demoted from top spot following Ireland’s success at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion, rarely threatened and the lack of quality in the final third was evident.

The hosts almost doubled their advantage in the second-half when Bale smashed an effort against the post after getting on the end of Aaron Ramsey’s lovely through-ball.

Wales were made to rue that miss as the visitors almost immediately went down the other end and found an equaliser, Newcastle United star Aleksandar Mitrovic’s brilliant header claiming a share of the spoils.

That result has left the Dragons in third place in the standings, two points behind Serbia in second and four behind Martin O’Neill’s Ireland.

Only six qualifying games remain in the campaign but, despite the sticky situation, Bale is adamant his side can guarantee their spot for the major tournament in Russia.

“We believe we can still do it, we just need to keep working hard. At home we were confident, we were 1-0 up in the 85th minute, it’s two points lost.”

Bale will be hoping to put the international disappointment behind him with club team Real Madrid taking on rivals Atletico on November 19 at the Vicente Calderon.

The hosts are 2.30 favourites, a draw is priced at 3.20 whilst the visitors are a 3.10 chance.

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