Ryan Giggs salutes 'magnificent' Wigan Athletic striker

Kieffer Moore celebrates scoring his first goal for Wales in Slovakia
Kieffer Moore celebrates scoring his first goal for Wales in Slovakia

Ryan Giggs hailed 'magnificent' Wigan Athletic striker Kieffer Moore after the former lifeguard rescued Wales' Euro 2020 qualifying hopes with a first international goal in Slovakia.

The 27-year-old - who joined Latics from Barnsley for £2.5million over the summer - headed Wales into a first-half lead before Juraj Kucka equalised after the interval to earn Slovakia a 1-1 draw.

Moore worked as a part-time swimming pool lifeguard while his non-league travels took him to Truro and Dorchester.

He would go on to play for Viking in Norway, Yeovil, Forest Green and Ipswich before becoming a hit at Rotherham and Barnsley and making his first competitive appearance for Wales in Trnava.

"Kieffer was a handful all night," Giggs said of the 6ft 5ins striker.

"He gives us an option. I am really pleased with the goal and overall really pleased with his performance.

"I thought he did really well against Belarus (in a friendly last month), he occupies the two centre-halves and he gives us a different option.

"I picked him because I knew we'd be under pressure, Slovakia like to press.

"I always like to play out from the back, but also have that option to beat that pressure.

"Kieffer was magnificent, and I'm really pleased he got the goal, because all centre-forwards like to score.

"It was a brilliant goal, and that's what the big man was there to do."

The draw leaves the race for qualification in Group E delicately balanced with Wales trailing second-placed Slovakia by three points and Hungary by two, but having a game in hand on both.

Wales, who beat Slovakia 1-0 at home in March, will finish above them on their head to head record if they end on the same number of points.

Croatia are three points clear of Slovakia and favourites to take the first of the two qualifying places after beating Hungary 3-0 in Split on Thursday.

"Obviously now we have a better head to head than Slovakia but you still have to capitalise on that," Giggs said.

"It's never easy away from home and it's always fine margins.

"It could have gone either way and it was end to end, a good game for the neutral.

"Overall I'm happy to get the draw because we were under pressure at times.

"But we probably created the better chances. We could have won it, we could have lost it."