Wales’ hopes of qualifying for UEFA Euro 2020 were always going to fall back on the playoffs, with the Nations League offering up an opportunity for teams to make their presence known even if their actual qualification campaign didn’t go so well. Thankfully for Wales, they were still in the hunt for an automatic entry into Euro 2020, too, and they took one step closer towards realising that dream as they beat Azerbaijan 2-0 in their own backyard.
The visitors were pretty dominant from the word go and make it clear to Azerbaijan that they weren’t here to play around. They know that they have their own fate in their hands, and as they continue to develop a really strong core squad with some big time game winners, it’s clear to see that the future is incredibly bright for this nation.
Kieffer Moore was able to give the Welsh an early lead with a nice header, and they made sure to never rest on the lead as they continued to push forward with real intent. The second goal of the game, which wound up sealing the result, was headed in by Harry Wilson after a nice passage of play from Daniel James.
Wales manager Ryan Giggs was happy, but knows that they can play better.
“The performance like always could be better but the result was the main thing tonight. It’s set up nicely for Tuesday.
Make a statement
“Kieffer is a threat and we recognised they might be a bit weak at set-pieces. We were pleased to get the big man on the scoresheet again.
“I thought the referee handled the game well and there were no silly fouls from us – going into Tuesday we wanted our best players available.
“We’ve played some good football at times which is pleasing. It could have been better but overall I was happy with the performance.”
The attention for Wales will now turn towards a winner-takes-all encounter with Hungary, and they’ll go into that game knowing just how much is at stake. While the security blanket of the playoffs is nice, they won’t want to take any chances.
Azerbaijan: Balayev (6), Pashayev (5.5), Mustafazade (6), Huseynov (6.5), Krivotsyuk (6), Xalilzade (6), Abdullayev (6), Ramazanov (6.5), Nazarov (5.5), Huseynov (N/A), Qarayev (6.5), Almeida de Oliveira (6), Rahimov (5), Seydaev (6)
Wales: Hennessey (6.5), Roberts (6.5), Lockyer (6), Mepham (6.5), Davies (7), Ampadu (6.5), Vaulks (N/A), Morrell (6), Bale (7), Ramsey (7), Wilson (7.5), James (7.5), Matondo (N/A), Moore (7.5)
Referee: Deniz Aytekin
Goals: Moore, Wilson
Yellow Cards: Nazarov, Huseynov, Rahimov, Seydaev, Ampadu, Morrell, Wilson, Matondo
Red Cards: N/A
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