Rachel Rowe scores stunning volley as Wales draw with Portugal
Reading striker Rachel Rowe volleyed Wales to a creditable friendly draw with World Cup-bound Portugal as they continued their preparations for the forthcoming Nations League campaign.
Rowe struck 17 minutes from time to cancel out Telma Encarnacao’s 49th-minute opener and ensure the game ended 1-1 at the Estadio Dom Alfonso Henriques in Guimaraes despite skipper Sophie Ingle’s stoppage-time dismissal.
Gemma Grainger’s side started well against a Portugal team featuring 11 changes to that which started Friday’s 2-1 defeat by Japan, although it was the home side who were first to threaten.
Ana Rute took aim from distance and saw her shot cannon back off the crossbar before keeper Olivia Clark saved Carolina Mendes’ follow-up.
Gemma Evans had to make a fine block within seconds to deny Encarnacao after she had been played in over the top, and Mendes headed over from Francisca Nazareth’s cross 11 minutes before the break.
However, her side fell behind within four minutes of the restart when Encarnacao cut inside Esther Morgan and curled a left-foot shot across Clark and inside the far post.
Portugal keeper Patricia Morais needed to make a smart save to keep out Jess Fishlock’s 69th-minute strike from distance, but she was left scrambling across her goal in vain as Rowe dispatched a volley into the bottom corner to level.
Last defender Evans was perhaps fortune not to be penalised for a challenge on substitute Jessica Silva, but Wales, who beat Northern Ireland 4-1 on Thursday, held firm to keep a side ranked 21st by FIFA – 10 places above them – at bay, at times at full stretch following Ingle’s late dismissal for a second bookable offence.
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