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AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Gareth Bale converted an 82nd-minute penalty to offset Tim Weah’s first-half goal and hand Wales a 1-1 draw on Monday in the Champions League return world for both nations.

Weah, son of former FIFA player of the year and current Liberian president George Weah, scored after a pass from Christian Pulisic in the 36th minute.

Returning to the World Cup after missing the 2018 tournament, the United States appeared to be heading for victory. But Walker Zimmerman knocked Bale down from behind with the Welsh star’s back to goal, and host Qatar’s referee Abdulrahman Al-Jassim pointed from the penalty spot.

Bale kicked in from the left of goalkeeper Matt Turner’s outstretched arm for his 41st goal in 109 international appearances, salvaging a point for Wales in their first World Cup game since 1958.

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Next up for the United States is a top-flight match against England on Friday, the same day Wales play Iran. England started with a 6-2 rout of the Iranians earlier on Monday.

Tim Weah, just 22 years old, was part of a new American team which is the second youngest in the tournament.

Pulisic, America’s best player and one of the few survivors of the failed 2017 qualifier, burst into midfield in a move that led to the goal. Weah timed his run perfectly as Pulisic sped past Neco Williams.

From near the penalty area, Weah used the side of his right foot to drive the ball past sliding keeper Wayne Hennessey’s left thigh for his fourth goal in 26 international appearances.

Weah ran towards the American fans with outstretched arms and slipped on both knees. He was mobbed by his teammates, then raised both hands to the sky and blew a kiss to the sky.

George Weah, who has never played in the World Cup, had planned to be at the game.

Thousands of Red Wall supporters filled one end of the lower bowl and sang along.

In the 750th international match in United States history, the Americans pitched a record 10 players from European clubs, with only Major League Soccer’s Zimmerman. DeAndre Yedlin, who came on in the 74th minute, was the only American player with previous World Cup experience.

Josh Sargent nearly put the Americans ahead in the 10th minute when he hit the post with a header off Antonee Robinson’s cross.

Ben Davies’ 64th-minute header was pushed over the crossbar by a leaping Turner.

The game was played in the Arabian desert west of Doha at the rebuilt Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, brightly lit and featuring an exterior facade meant to replicate rolling sand dunes.

The United States Soccer Federation sold around 3,300 tickets and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was present in the crowd of 43,418.

CARDED

Three Americans received yellow cards for brutal tackles and would be suspended if they got another one: Sergiño Dest, Weston McKennie and Tim Ream.

YOUNG AT HEART

Yunus Musah at 19, 358 days, became the youngest American to start a World Cup match, 19 days younger than DaMarcus Beasley in 2022, and Tyler Adams at 23 became the youngest American Cup captain world since Harry Keough and Walter Bahr in 1950.

RUST

Turner and Zimmerman played their first competitive matches in a month and McKennie – with newly dyed red, white and blue hair – his first since in three weeks. Ream was paired with Zimmerman in central defence, his first international appearance in 14 months.

For Wales, Hennessey has played just his second game since late September and Bale has made his second start in two months.

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Bale equalizer stuns USA as Wales save draw

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