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Club news

Nations League promotion for Cherries duo


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Chris Mepham and David Brooks both featured as Wales registered a 3-1 win over Finland to seal top spot in their Nations League group and promotion to the competition’s top flight.

Defender Mepham started and won his 14th cap at Cardiff City Stadium, while playmaker Brooks replaced Daniel James in the 89th minute to make his 16th appearance.

Mepham and Brooks can now look forward to a first campaign in the top tier of the Nations League in 2022 and winning the group also enhances Wales’s chances of securing a place in the 2022 World Cup qualifying play-offs.

Should they miss out on automatic qualification or a play-off place for the tournament in Qatar, their status as Nations League group winners means they are virtually guaranteed a play-off spot via an alternative route.

Wales’s cause was helped when Finland’s Jere Uronen was sent off after only 12 minutes for a foul on former Cherries loan star Harry Wilson.

Wilson drew first blood for the hosts when he finished with a first-time effort after being picked out by Gareth Bale’s pass in the 29th minute.

They doubled their lead through James’s fierce 20-yard shot a minute into the second half before Norwich striker Teemu Pukki halved the arrears on 63 minutes.

Pukki’s goal was the first Wales had conceded in more than 12 hours of competitive football, the hosts sealing victory through Kieffer Moore’s header six minutes from time.

Mark Travers was an unused substitute as Republic of Ireland avoided relegation from Group B4 thanks to a 0-0 draw with Bulgaria in Dublin.

The Republic finished their campaign in third behind Wales and Finland with Bulgaria dropping down a tier.

Joshua King was forced to sit out as Norway missed out on promotion after Group B1 rivals Austria netted an injury-time leveller to earn a 1-1 draw in Vienna.

Norway had to take a fresh squad to the Austrian capital after their country’s health ministry insisted the original group of players did not travel and should go into quarantine following a positive Covid-19 test for Galatasary’s Omar Elabdellaoui last week.

Ghayas Zahid opened the scoring for Norway at Ernst Happel Stadion before Adrian Grbic equalised four minutes into added time.

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