Chris Coleman hails 'night to remember' after teenager Ben Woodburn gives Wales victory in World Cup qualifier

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Staff Reporter

Chris Coleman savoured a night to remember for Welsh football as Liverpool teenager Ben Woodburn made a dream international debut.

Woodburn struck Wales' World Cup qualifying winner against Austria in Cardiff just five minutes after coming on as a 69th-minute substitute.

Wales' 1-0 victory moved them to within two points of the Republic of Ireland - who drew 1-1 at Georgia earlier in the day - in second place in Group D.

Group leaders Serbia remain four points ahead of Wales with three games to play.

"It is one of those nights to remember,' Wales manager Coleman said after 17-year-oldWoodburn had rifled home a winner from 22 yards.

"It was a great way to win the game. Ben is young but we have seen enough.

"This is not a player we have just discovered, we have had him for some years in our system.

'"I had no worries about him at all. It wasn't just his goal, it was his all-round play, his intelligence.

"He has good composure, he is not fazed.

"The acid test is when you take that step up, first in training, then how you handle your debut. He has come through that in flying colours.

"He still has a lot to do. But we have seen in our experience he is capable at our level to make a difference."

Wales next head to Moldova on Tuesday, while the Republic entertain Serbia in Dublin on the same night.

After that, Wales finish their campaign with an October double-header away to Georgia and at home to the Republic.

"We are a couple points back on the Republic and they have got to come to us in the last fixture," Coleman said.

"But the biggest game we've had in a long time is away to Moldova. We have to take care of our own business.

"This campaign has been very tight and difficult for all of us.

"We could have been 2-0 down in the first half, the second half was a different story.

"But it's fine margins and luckily for us it was our night.

"We've always felt we've been playing catch-up in the group and later than the other teams.

"If we can't catch Serbia we've got to catch Ireland. We've got three games to go and anything can happen."

Austria had their chances, especially in the first half, with Marko Arnautovic guilty of wasting a gilt-edged opportunity.

But their hopes of qualification are now almost certainly over and coach Marcel Koller faces an uncertain future.

Asked about his future, Koller said: "I have not thought about it.

"My contract expires in November, but it's too early to talk about that.

"It's very difficult for us now, everything would have to go right for us to qualify.

"But we've still got three games to play and we've got to focus on that now.

"We know we have to be more cut-throat at this level.

"We are maybe lacking a bit of experience in these top games, but you can only get the experience if you play in them."

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