WALES suffered a second hammer blow to their hopes of reaching Euro 2020 in the space of three days, as a late Hungary goal left Ryan Giggs’ side crestfallen in Budapest.

With just one win from three Group E games, Wales now find themselves facing an uphill struggle to qualify for next year’s finals.

Wales boss Giggs had hinted after the 2-1 defeat to Croatia on Saturday that there might be changes for the trip to the Groupama Arena.

There were five to the starting XI with Ashley Williams returning at centre-back to captain the side at Chris Mepham’s expense.

Newport-born right-back Chris Gunter replaced Connor Roberts to win his 95th cap and David Brooks, who came on to score against Croatia, started in place of Harry Wilson.

Ethan Ampadu replaced Will Vaulks in midfield and forward Tom Lawrence came in for midfielder Matt Smith.

It was an inauspicious start for Gunter, who is now out on his own as Wales’ record cap holder, after a booking inside the first two minutes for a nothing foul on teenager Dominik Szoboszlai.

A running theme of the first half was the danger Hungary posed from set-pieces, particularly because of the delivery of Balazs Dzsudzsak.

Gareth Bale was twice called on to show his prowess in the air to help clear the danger, while on another occasion, Dzsudzsak found Adam Szalai but his ball just evaded Filip Holender.

Wales eventually showed their hand on 25 minutes, and Manchester United fans got a glimpse of what they can expect from Old Trafford bound Daniel James.

The speedster flew down the left flank before feeding Tom Lawrence whose left-footed effort was saved low down by Peter Gulacsi.

Dzsudzsak, however, was still Hungary’s biggest threat and an inswinging corner found the head of Willi Orban but the ball hit the side netting.

Mate Patkai then joined Gunter in Slovenian referee Matej Jug’s notebook for dissent following an Adam Nagy foul on Ben Davies.

But Hungary were soon on the attack again, and another cross from the skipper had Wales worried, but keeper Wayne Hennessey managed to get hold of the loose ball.

Wales would have been more than happy to get to half-time on level terms with their hosts, though it must be said that Giggs’ men did have the only chances of the first 45 minutes that were on target.

The second half began with Nagy going into the book for a foul on the flying James.

Not long after that, Giggs was forced into making his first substitution after Ampadu took a knock to his back and was replaced by Matt Smith.

An embarrassing overreaction from Dzsudzsak to a tussle with James preceded a great opening for 18-year-old Szoboszlai.

Given too much space in the Wales box, Szoboszlai smashed a fierce drive a few millimetres past the angle of post and crossbar, much to the relief of the visitors.

Then, on the hour mark, came a golden opportunity for the men in red.

Bale may be suffering under Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, but when a ball is played to him 10 yards from goal with just the keeper to beat, you expect him to score.

Sadly for Wales, after David Brooks had played in Tom Lawrence, Bale proceeded to toe-end the latter’s centre straight into the grateful Gulacsi’s hands.

That miss would prove crucial.

Some 15 minutes later, Hungary substitute László Kleinheisler stung the palms of Hennessey, and from the resulting corner only a brilliant acrobatic goalline clearance by Joe Allen saved Wales.

But it wasn’t long before the deadlock was broken.

James Lawrence couldn’t deal with Szalai and Patkai lashed the loose ball in with a deflection off the prone Davies.

Szalai had two chances to make the game safe after that, while Davies was rightly cautioned for a rash challenge in the closing stages.

Wales had one last glimmer of hope in injury-time, only for Szalai to thwart Bale with a timely touch to take the ball away from the striker.

Hungary: Gulacsi, Lovrencsics, Barath, Orban, Korhut, A Nagy, Patkai, Dzsudzsak (capt), Szoboszlai, Holender, Szalai. Subs: Dibusz, Kovacsik, Ferenczi, Paulo Vinicius, Nemeth, Kalmar, Kleinheisler, R Varga, D Nagy, Holman, Kovacs, Bese.

Wales: Hennessey, Gunter, Williams (capt), J Lawrence, B Davies, Allen, Ampadu, T Lawrence, Brooks, James, Bale. Subs: Ward, A Davies, Taylor, Mepham, Smith, Vokes, Wilson, Woodburn, Roberts, Matondo, Lockyer, Vaulks.

Referee: Matej Jug (Slovenia)