WALES were unable to mark Chris Gunter’s record-breaking 93rd appearance for his country with a win tonight as a second-half penalty was enough to give Albania victory at Elbasan Arena.

Newport-born Gunter had the honour of captaining the visitors for the friendly, 11 years after he made his international debut against New Zealand in Wrexham.

It wasn’t the greatest of displays by Wales but they will still feel that had it not been for a few dubious refereeing decisions they would have got more from the game.

Ryan Giggs made a host of changes to his starting XI after last Friday’s 2-1 Nations League defeat against Denmark.

As well as Gunter, Danny Ward, Tom Lockyer, Andy King, who won his 50th cap, Harry Wilson and Sam Vokes came into the side.

And making up the eight alterations were two debutants, Anderlecht defender James Lawrence and Swansea City winger Daniel James.

Albania boss Christian Panucci kept six of the team that suffered a 4-0 thrashing at home by Scotland on Saturday.

Mergim Mavraj, who was sent off against the Scots, and Taulant Xhaka, brother of Arsenal and Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka, were among those to keep their places.

Wales made a positive start and it was Burnley’s Vokes who had their first chance inside the opening 10 minutes with a header that went close.

Wilson then threatened to break the deadlock from a free-kick but his effort was just off target.

Meanwhile, Lawrence and James settled into international football well, both catching the eye with pinpoint passes and a willingness to run with the ball respectively.

Another headed chance fell Wales’ way midway through the first half, this time it was David Brooks glancing Wilson’s cross inches past the far post.

Tempers flared some 10 minutes before the break after Brooks and Xhaka clashed.

The Albanian complained of an elbow from Brooks, while Xhaka appeared to headbutt the Welshman but only received a yellow card.

Wales should have levelled at the start of the second period and only Vokes will know how he managed not to score from two yards out.

Six minutes after the restart it was Gunter going into the referee’s notebook for deliberately slowing down an Albania attack.

The hosts took the lead just before the hour mark and after Giggs had brought Ben Woodburn and Aaron Ramsey on for James and Joe Allen.

Xhaka got to a loose ball in the Wales box ahead of Wilson and the Derby man was penalised for pulling back the midfielder, who did make a meal of the challenge.

Wilson was booked and Bekin Balaj coolly slotted the spot-kick down the middle of Ward’s goal.

Balaj’s strike prompted Giggs to throw on Gareth Bale in the hope that the Real Madrid star could inspire a comeback.

And not long after there were big shouts for a penalty from the Welsh players when Migjen Basha scythed down Wilson – the referee awarded a corner.

Another poor decision from Macedonian referee Dejan Jakimovski followed, the official failing to award Wales an indirect free-kick after a blatant back-pass by an Albanian defender.

Giggs then gave two more youngsters, Kieron Freeman and Rabbi Matondo, their debuts with 12 minutes left.

Manchester City’s Matondo did his best to inject some pace into Wales’ attacks but the visitors couldn’t find an equaliser.

Albania: Berisha, Ismajli, Mavraj, Veseli, Uzuni, Lila (Memushaj 59), Xhaka, Basha, Hysaj, Uzuni, Grezda (Lilaj 69).

Wales: Ward, C Roberts (Freeman 78), Lockyer, J Lawrence, Gunter, King, Allen (Ramsey 56), Brooks (Bale 59), Wilson, James (Woodburn 56), Vokes (Matondo 78).