Chris Coleman praised his Wales side’s professionalism as they opened their World Cup 2018 qualification campaign with a comfortable 4-0 win over Moldova in Cardiff.
Sam Vokes headed the home side in front after 38 minutes before Joe Allen doubled their advantage with his first senior international goal on the stroke of half-time.
Bale then made it 3-0 early in the second half, taking advantage of a stray backpass from Ion Jardan, and the Real Madrid star added his second and Wales’ fourth in stoppage time, firing home from the penalty spot after being bundled over in the box.
And boss Coleman felt that it was a job well done in their Group D opener.
“It was so important that we got off to a good start in the campaign,” he told Sky Sports. “We knew it was going to be tough and that we had to be patient and disciplined and I thought we did all of that.
“We showed a great level of professionalism and the supporters were brilliant again. The atmosphere was fantastic and the guys absolutely love playing here when the atmosphere is like that. Credit to the players as well. They got the goals and we could have scored more.
“It’s only three points, but the first one is always important.”
The hosts were a little slow out of the blocks against a side currently languishing 154 places below them in the FIFA rankings, but Coleman denied feeling any frustration before Vokes opened the scoring.
“We saw with England [in the 1-0 win over Slovakia on Sunday] that whether you score in the first minute or the last minute, the game is never over until the final whistle is blown,” he said.
“I really wasn’t that anxious.”
The man who led Wales to the last four of Euro 2016 did admit, however, that sterner tests await his charges in what is a tough qualifying group.
“Had this been against Ireland or Austria or Serbia, it would have been a different feeling,” he conceded. “We absolutely know that unless we are at our maximum in games like that, we won’t get what we need. I know we were expected to beat Moldova, but we still had to go and do the job and we got the three points we needed. But as we said throughout the last campaign; the next one is even bigger.”
That next game for Wales is a potentially pivotal clash with Austria in Vienna on October 6, while Moldova host Serbia on the same night.