European Championship Qualifying - Group B
Wales2Cyprus1

Wales 2-1 Cyprus

Hal Robson-Kanu
Hal Robson-Kanu netted only his second international goal for Wales
  • Unbeaten Wales remain top of Group B
  • Bale sets up Robson-Kanu goal and hits bar
  • Wales' King sent off for dangerous challenge
  • Hosts hold on in tense finale

Wales clung on for a nerve-shredding win over Cyprus to remain top of their Euro 2016 qualifying group.

Wales appeared to be coasting as goals from David Cotterill and Hal Robson-Kanu - the latter a stylish team effort - gave them an early 2-0 lead.

But a goal from Vincent Laban and a red card for Wales midfielder Andy King gave Cyprus hope of claiming only their second victory in 16 matches.

A tactically disciplined display was enough, however, for a precious three points which gives Wales their best start to a qualifying campaign since 2002.

Wales' remaining Euro 2016 qualifiers
Cyprus (a) 3 September 2015
Belgium (a) 16 November 2014; (h) 12 June 2015
Israel (a) 28 March 2015; (h) 6 September 2015
Bosnia-Hercegovina (a) 10 October 2015
Andorra (h) 13 October 2015

Wales made two change to the side that drew 0-0 with Bosnia-Hercegovina - Robson-Kanu replacing the injured Jonathan Williams and left-back Ben Davies making way for young Fulham winger George Williams - and the hosts were forced into another early alteration as Simon Church suffered a shoulder injury and had to be replaced by Cotterill.

And it was the substitute who gave Wales the lead as an inswinging cross from evaded its intended targets and bounced into the far corner.

While Cotterill's opener was more than a touch fortuitous, Wales doubled their lead with a sumptuous team goal.

Gareth Bale's delightful backheel set Robson-Kanu free for the Reading forward to slot the ball between the legs of Cyprus goalkeeper Tasos Kissas.

Euro 2016 Group B qualifying table
TeamPlayedWonDrawnLostPoints
Wales32107
Israel22006
Belgium21104
Cyprus31023
Bosnia-Hercegovina30212
Andorra30030

At this point Wales were attacking at will, with Bale, Cotterill, Robson-Kanu and Williams all benefitting from loose Cypriot defending.

But, against the run of play, the visitors clawed themselves back into the tie as Laban's floated free-kick evaded Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and a handful of defenders on the line before nestling in the far corner.

The hosts' slender advantage made for a nervy atmosphere at the Cardiff City Stadium, and the home crowd's concerns grew when King was dismissed just two minutes after the restart for an ankle-high challenge on Cyprus captain Constantinos Makridis.

Having been in total command early in the game, Wales now faced the challenge of holding on to their lead with a man less for almost an entire half.

There were a couple of scares - George Efrem wasted Cyprus's best chance as he headed over from close range - but Wales dug deep for a valuable victory which strengthens their grip on top spot in Group B.

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale was the victim of a cynical challenge early on, which saw Marios Nikolaou booked
David Cotterill
Substitute David Cotterill (centre) put Wales ahead after he had only been on the pitch for seven minutes
Gareth Bale
Bale was involved in the build-up to Wales' second goal, which Hal Robson-Kanu scored
Andy King
Andy King was shown a straight red card for a poor challenge two minutes into the second half
Andy King
Wales had to play for the last 43 minutes with 10 men following King's dismissal

Line-ups

Wales

  • 1Hennessey
  • 2Gunter
  • 4Chester
  • 6Williams
  • 3Taylor
  • 10Robson-KanuSubstituted forTaylorat 85'minutes
  • 8KingBooked at 47mins
  • 16LedleyBooked at 5mins
  • 23WilliamsSubstituted forEdwardsat 58'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 11BaleBooked at 48mins
  • 9ChurchSubstituted forCotterillat 6'minutesBooked at 34mins

Substitutes

  • 5Davies
  • 7Edwards
  • 12Fon Williams
  • 13Cotterill
  • 14Gabbidon
  • 15Williams
  • 17Lawrence
  • 18Ricketts
  • 19Edwards
  • 20Taylor
  • 21Letheren
  • 22John

Cyprus

  • 12Kissas
  • 8KyriakouBooked at 85mins
  • 4MerkisBooked at 90mins
  • 2Júnior Dossa MomadeSubstituted forAngeliat 29'minutesBooked at 39minsSubstituted forPapathanasiouat 85'minutes
  • 15Antoniades
  • 14Laban
  • 23NikolaouBooked at 4minsSubstituted forAlexandrouat 68'minutes
  • 9Christofi
  • 13Makridis
  • 17Efrem
  • 20SotiriouBooked at 64mins

Substitutes

  • 1Georgallidis
  • 3Aresti
  • 5Sielis
  • 6Angeli
  • 7Papathanasiou
  • 10Charalambidis
  • 11Alexandrou
  • 16Kolokoudias
  • 18Artymatas
  • 19Stylianou
  • 21Makris
  • 22Loizou
Referee:
Manuel Gräfe

Match Stats

Home TeamWalesAway TeamCyprus
Possession
Home39%
Away61%
Shots
Home17
Away9
Shots on Target
Home8
Away2
Corners
Home8
Away1
Fouls
Home9
Away16

Live Text

Match ends, Wales 2, Cyprus 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Wales 2, Cyprus 1.

Booking

Giorgos Merkis (Cyprus) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Giorgos Merkis (Cyprus).

Gareth Bale (Wales) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Pieros Sotiriou.

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Vincent Laban.

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Vincent Laban.

Attempt blocked. Gareth Bale (Wales) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Chris Gunter.

Booking

Dave Edwards (Wales) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Constantinos Makridis (Cyprus) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Dave Edwards (Wales).

Foul by Nektarious Alexandrou (Cyprus).

Chris Gunter (Wales) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Dave Edwards (Wales) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Neil Taylor with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Georgios Efrem.

Attempt blocked. David Cotterill (Wales) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is blocked.

Booking

Charis Kyriakou (Cyprus) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Charis Kyriakou (Cyprus).

Gareth Bale (Wales) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Cyprus. Andreas Papathanasiou replaces Angelis Angeli.

Substitution

Substitution, Wales. Jake Taylor replaces Hal Robson-Kanu.

Attempt missed. Georgios Efrem (Cyprus) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Charis Kyriakou with a cross.

Attempt missed. Hal Robson-Kanu (Wales) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Joe Ledley with a headed pass.

Foul by Giorgos Merkis (Cyprus).

Hal Robson-Kanu (Wales) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Constantinos Makridis (Cyprus).

Gareth Bale (Wales) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Pieros Sotiriou (Cyprus).

Chris Gunter (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Gareth Bale (Wales) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Foul by Constantinos Makridis (Cyprus).

Dave Edwards (Wales) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Gareth Bale (Wales) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the right misses to the left. Assisted by Chris Gunter.

Substitution

Substitution, Cyprus. Nektarious Alexandrou replaces Marios Nikolaou.

Attempt missed. Angelis Angeli (Cyprus) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Vincent Laban.

Booking

Pieros Sotiriou (Cyprus) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Pieros Sotiriou (Cyprus).

James Chester (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Dangerous play by Constantinos Makridis (Cyprus).

goal

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