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Club news

Mepham helps Wales defend lead


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Chris Mepham earned his 25th cap for Wales as they kept alive their hopes of finishing as runners-up in their World Cup qualifying group.

Cardiff City striker Kieffer Moore bagged the only goal as Wales registered a 1-0 victory over Group E rivals Estonia in Tallinn.

Mepham played his part as the visitors defended Moore’s 12th-minute strike, keeping a second clean sheet against Estonia following the 0-0 draw in Cardiff last month.

Czech Republic triumphed 2-0 in Belarus to remain second in Group E and are ahead of Wales on goal difference but have played a game more.

With Belgium almost certain to secure the only automatic qualification spot as group winners, Wales are looking at the play-offs as their most realistic route to a first World Cup finals since 1958.

They are already effectively guaranteed a play-off place thanks to their success in the Nations League but finishing second in their qualifying group could secure a more favourable draw in that knockout stage.

Wales finish their qualifying campaign with games against Belarus and Belgium in Cardiff next month, while the Czechs host Estonia in their final fixture.

Mepham has started all six of their qualifiers, featuring in wins over Czech Republic, Belarus and Estonia, draws with Estonia and Czech Republic and their only defeat by Belgium.

Morgan Rogers was on target for England under-20s in their resounding 5-0 win over Czech Republic in Teplice.

Rogers, who is on loan to the Cherries from Manchester City, also provided an assist for Chelsea’s Poole-born Tino Anjorin to score.

Anjorin, who is on loan at Lokomotiv Moscow, spurned an opportunity to draw first blood for England when he fired wide from the penalty spot in the early stages.

Arsenal’s Miguel Azeez, who is on loan at Portsmouth, opened the scoring in the first half before Fulham’s Jay Stansfield doubled their lead after a shot from Rogers had been parried by goalkeeper Adam Stejskal.

Rogers teed up Anjorin for England’s third goal in the 70th minute before the Cherries winger’s goalbound shot deflected off Martin Suchomel to make it 4-0.

Fleetwood Town defender James Hill came off the bench to complete the scoring when he headed home a cross from Aston Villa’s Kaine Kesler Hayden.

Orjan Nyland kept a clean sheet as Norway triumphed 2-0 against Montenegro to maintain their hopes of reaching the World Cup finals for the first time since 1998.

The goalkeeper earned his 31st cap and played his part in an heroic defensive effort as victory left Norway second in Group G, two points behind leaders Netherlands with two games remaining.

Southampton’s Mohamed Elyounoussi netted both goals in Oslo, while the visitors had Marko Vesovic sent off in stoppage time for two yellow cards.

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