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Big blow for Leeds United trio despite Whites man impact as landscape completely changes

ALL SQUARE: Ethan Ampadu, centre, celebrates as Wales draw level.
ALL SQUARE: Ethan Ampadu, centre, celebrates as Wales draw level.

A notable impact from a Leeds United player proved in vain as part of a big blow for Whites trio on the international front.

Wales had to win Saturday afternoon's Euros qualifier in Armenia to keep their qualification destiny in their own hands but a 1-1 draw has left the Dragons needing Croatia to slip up in one of their last two games.

Whites pair Ethan Ampadu and Joe Rodon both started for Rob Page's side but Rodon's attempts to head clear an early corner fell to Lucas Zelarayán who fired the hosts into a fifth-minute lead.

Rodon, though, contributed several pieces of fine defensive play and made a big impact at the other end of the pitch in first half stoppage time in applying pressure to Nair Tiknizyan who headed into his own net at a long throw.

Dan James was then called for as a second-half substitute but Wales were unable to bag a winner and now need a favour from either Latvia or Armenia in Croatia's final two games.

Ampadu and Rodon both started as Dragons boss Page named an unchanged side but the duo were unable to prevent Armenia taking a fifth-minute lead.

From a Armenia corner, Rodon attempted to clear but his header fell straight to Zelarayán who escaped the attentions of Ampadu on the edge of he box before firing home into the bottom right corner.

Wales responded well and David Brooks fired an attempt just over the bar whilst Ampadu threatened when sent up for a corner with a strike in a crowded box which was blocked.

Ampadu was then penalised for a strong challenge on Vahan Bichakhchyan despite winning the ball but avoided a yellow card, unlike team mate Chris Mepham for running into Lucas Zelarayán a minute later.

Mepham will now be suspended for Tuesday's contest against Turkey and another strong challenge from Ampadu then helped the Dragons stave off an Armenia attack.

As half time approached, Harry Wilson was denied by a great save from home stopper Ognjen Cancarevic before Rodon helped out defensively with a strong block to keep out another Armenia attempt.

But Rodon was then heavily involved as the Dragons finally drew level on the stroke of an interval through an own goal from a long throw.

Connor Roberts launched the ball into the area where Rodon challenged Nair Tiknizyan at the near post and Tiknizyan could only head the ball into the roof of his own net.

Dragons boss Page made his first change five minutes after the restart but looked to Brennan Johnson and not Dan James as Johnson replaced Brooks.

More and more challenges began to fly in and Ampadu found himself booked in the 55th minute as things became heated when Varazdat Haroyan took out Wilson to end a dangerous Wales break.

Another fine challenge from Rodon then stopped Armenia in their tracks but the hosts were only denied by the woodwork on the hour mark as Bichakhchyan unleashed a fine attempt from the edge of the box that cannoned back off the crossbar.

Back came Wales with a threatening counter but Ampadu's misplaced pass allowed Armenia to clear. Moments later, Ampadu's Whites team mate Dan James was called for in the 66th minute to replace Wilson.

James was soon involved and darted down the left before squaring to namesake Jordan James whose shot from the edge of the area was saved but Rodon was then required to make another fine clearance at the other end to clear a dangerous cross.

At the other end, a poor James cross was intercepted and cleared as the clock approached the final ten minutes but a headed chance presented itself in the 88th minute to Ampadu who places his effort straight at the keeper.

Dragons keeper Danny Ward then saved Wales with a fantastic save in the 90th minute and the hosts squandered another glorious opportunity three minutes later as Edgar Sevikyan fired wide from close range as the contest ended in a 1-1 draw.