Wales were desperately unhappy to concede a late goal in Cardiff on Saturday, said talisman Gareth Bale after the home team were held 1-1 by Serbia in World Cup qualifying.

The draw left Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales third in Group D with six points from four games, four behind leaders Ireland and two adrift of second-placed Serbia.

It was the third time Chris Coleman’s side had squandered a lead in the campaign, having been held to a 1-1 home draw by Georgia and a 2-2 draw in Austria.

“We are so disappointed at the moment. We played great in the first half but then faded,” said Bale who fired his team in front on the half-hour and struck the woodwork moments before Serbia’s equaliser.

“It’s one of those things, you go so close at one end and then they go up and score,” the Real Madrid forward told the BBC. “It’s two points lost. We believe we can still do it, we just need to keep working hard.”

Midfielder Joe Ledley said: “We are proud of our performance. It’s Ireland away next and that’s a must-win.”

Bale hit the post in the 85th minute and Serbia levelled 45 seconds later when Aleksandar Mitrovic continued his fine run of form with a well-taken header.

Visiting captain Branislav Ivanovic said his side were pleased with the outcome.

“It’s a very important goal for us,” said the Chelsea defender.

“We gave a lot of energy and we can be more than happy with a point.

“Wales are very difficult to play, very strong on the counter-attack and they scored an early goal. When you miss the chance to kill the game with a second goal it happens so often that you concede.”

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