Bale subbed off at half during Wales UEFA Nations League match; Jovic and Lunin ride the bench

Lukas Hradecky and Jere Uronen of Finland and Gareth Bale and Kieffer Moore of Wales vie for the ball during the UEFA Nations League football match between Finland and Wales in Helsinki on September 3, 2020.

Gareth Bale started for the Welsh national team in their UEFA Nations League match against Finland on Thursday.

He was subbed off at halftime, which seemed to indicate an injury scare. However, Wales manager Ryan Giggs says he planned to sub Bale off at the half in preparation for their next match against Bulgaria.

Giggs says that Bale was the player in the squad with the least amount of time spent in training. He feels that the 45 minutes was plenty for Bale to get into rhythm, though he didn’t register single shot on net.

Given the comments from the Welsh manager, it seems Bale will likely get another start against Bulgaria that will hopefully last longer and be more productive. Wales managed a 1-0 result against the Finnish off a goal from Cardiff City’s Kieffer James.

Andriy Lunin and Luka Jovic were both in their national team squads, but were relegated to the bench. Ukraine elected to start 36-year-old Shakthar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov in net. He conceded a goal in their 2-1 victory over Switzerland, with goals from West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko and Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Jovic did not see any action either off the bench. Serbia started Fulham’s Aleksandr Mitrovic, who scored but was not enough to prevent a 3-1 loss to Russia.

It was a very English league-favored as all the goals listed across these three matches came from Premier League and English Championship players.

Sunday begins the second matchday of international matches. We will likely see Bale back in action against Bulgaria. Lunin and Ukraine will be taking on Spain, which will no doubt feature a good amount of Real Madrid players. And Jovic and Serbia will be playing Turkey.
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