Bale ready to throw in lesser-known weapon

Wales forward Gareth Bale preparing to launch a throw-in against Austria. His long throw in the 45th minute created one of his side's goals.
Wales forward Gareth Bale preparing to launch a throw-in against Austria. His long throw in the 45th minute created one of his side's goals.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • The football world knows all about Gareth Bale's free kicks, volleys and crosses, but not many associate him with a long throw-in that Stoke's former long-throw exponent Rory Delap would have been proud of.

It had the desired effect of taking Austria by surprise, as they conceded a goal during the confusion that his missiles created in the 2-2 World Cup qualifying draw on Thursday.

Bale sporadically used the weapon when he played for Southampton and Tottenham, where he created a goal from inside his own half for Jermain Defoe against Stevenage in 2012, but he started to try his luck more with Real Madrid last season, including in the Clasico against Barcelona.

"I've had a long throw for a while but we've only just brought it out," Bale said after the draw in Vienna.

"It was a nice surprise to use and worked to help us get that point."

Wales spotted that Austria were vulnerable in the air and experimented with the more physical aerial presence of Sam Vokes up front, in place of Hal Robson-Kanu.

Vokes flicked on Bale's throw-in for James Chester and Robert Almer, the Austria goalkeeper, had little luck as the ball hit Kevin Wimmer and went in to give Wales a 2-1 lead.

"I am more used to trying to get on the end of Gareth's crosses than his long throws and it is a weapon we can use," Vokes said.

"We have not worked on it massively, but it was effective here, so I am sure we will use it again."

Bale might use it if Georgia prove stubborn in their Group D clash at the Cardiff City Stadium today.

"We looked at how Austria defended set-pieces, crosses and long throws and we decided it was something we could use," regular throw-in take Neil Taylor said.

"It's a horrible thing to deal with, it caused chaos. Ask Tony Pulis when he was at Stoke. It gives us another weapon.

"It's key to keep finding different ways to score. That's massive for us.

"We weren't too proud to do it and not say, 'We are a European semi-finalist, we have got to play a certain way'. It did surprise them."

THE TIMES, LONDON

WALES V GEORGIA

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 09, 2016, with the headline 'Bale ready to throw in lesser-known weapon'. Print Edition | Subscribe