United States midfielder Kellyn Acosta produced an early contender for the best tactical foul of the 2022 World Cup against Wales star Gareth Bale on Monday.
However, Acosta’s foul also robbed us of what could have been a truly epic World Cup moment in the process.
The two nations played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan.
Timothy Weah opened the scoring for the USA in the 36th minute but Bale, so often Wales’ hero down the years, equalised from the penalty spot with just under 10 minutes remaining.
Nine minutes of stoppage-time were added at the end of the second half and both teams were pushing in search of a dramatic late winning goal.
Acosta’s tactical foul on Bale – What happened?
The second half went into a 10th minute of stoppage-time when the ball was headed towards the halfway line by USA goalkeeper Matt Turner.
However, the ball ended up at the feet of Wales’ danger man, Bale, who was ready to pull the trigger from distance.
Turner, who was sprinting back to his goal, knew he was in big trouble.
But the Arsenal shot-stopper was left breathing a huge sigh of relief when he heard the referee blow his whistle.
Turner had been bailed out by Acosta, who cynically brought down his Los Angeles FC teammate and was subsequently booked.
DOHA, QATAR – NOVEMBER 21: Kellyn Acosta of United States is shown a yellow card by referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between USA and Wales at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on November 21, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Video: Kellyn Acosta’s tactical foul on Gareth Bale
Watch the video here:
La patada de Kellyn Acosta a Gareth Bale en el último minuto para evitar el segundo de Gales 🥷pic.twitter.com/U1SGgBTdNh
— LAFC Uruguay 🇺🇾🏆 (@lafcuy) November 21, 2022
Acosta has been hailed by many – particularly in the United States – for his tactical foul.
Let’s check out some of the reaction on Twitter:
This foul by Kellyn Acosta is an all time great tactical foul + yellow card. Bale is about to strike it and Turner is still 25 yards from goal in 99th minute. pic.twitter.com/RF1Kt34NqH
But for others, Acosta’s foul prevented what could have been an extraordinary World Cup moment that would have been remembered for years to come.
Imagine if Bale had won the game for Wales with the last kick of the game with a goal from the halfway line.
While it’s obviously not guaranteed that he would have found the back of the net from that distance, it certainly wouldn’t have been a shock had he done so.
When do Wales and USA play their next World Cup games?
Wales are next in action on Friday, when they take on Iran, who suffered a 6-2 defeat against England on Monday.
USA, meanwhile, face the Three Lions on Friday evening.