World Cup Qualifying - European - Group D
Wales4Moldova0

Wales 4-0 Moldova

Gareth Bale scores for Wales against Moldova
Gareth Bale now has 24 goals for his country - and is the country's second highest scorer

Wales started their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign in confident fashion as they convincingly beat Moldova.

The Euro 2016 semi-finalists initially faced spirited Moldovan resistance but led 2-0 at half-time thanks to goals from Sam Vokes and Joe Allen.

Gareth Bale seized on a woeful pass for the third, then netted a last-minute penalty for his second of the night.

Wales' win puts them top of Group D on goal difference ahead of Austria.

Chris Coleman's men travel to Vienna for their next World Cup qualifier on Thursday, 6 October.

As the group's top seeds, Coleman's side had been expected to make light work of Moldova, who are ranked 154 places below them in the world rankings.

After a cagey first half hour they eventually did so with a flourish, becoming the first team to score three or more goals against the eastern European minnows since England's 4-0 victory in 2013.

Euro 2016 momentum

Having led Wales to a first major tournament semi-final at Euro 2016, Coleman said he was "desperate" to follow that achievement by qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The former Fulham manager and his players want to ensure their summer exploits in France were not a one-off but a springboard to sustained success.

They were backed by a typically vociferous Cardiff City Stadium crowd of 31,731, close to capacity once again as a nation basks in its greatest footballing era.

And although it came against limited opposition, this opening victory was an encouraging start as Wales aim to end an absence from World Cups that stretches back to 1958.

"That was the perfect start," former Wales international John Hartson said on Radio 5 live. "Moldova were awful, it was a comfortable win as you will see and great start to the qualifying campaign."

Wales break Moldovan resistance

There was a familiarity to Wales' initial inability to break Moldova down; struggling to unlock a deep and tenacious defence as they had done against Andorra and Israel during their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

Moldova had lost 14 of their past 20 games but they are seldom pushovers and have conceded only 26 goals in the process.

However, Wales' domination of possession and territory eventually paid dividends after 38 minutes when Bale's arcing cross was headed in by Vokes.

Five minutes later, a weak attempted clearance from Moldova goalkeeper Ilie Cebanu found its way to Allen, who scored his first goal for Wales with a drilled half-volley from the edge of the penalty area.

Bale claimed Wales' third goal in comical circumstances, as he latched on to a terrible backpass from Moldova's Ion Jardan before clipping the ball neatly beyond Cebanu.

The Real Madrid forward scored his second in added time, converting a penalty after he had been brought down to move within four goals of Ian Rush's Welsh record of 28.

Wales' top scorers
PlacePlayerCapsGoals
1Ian Rush7328
2Gareth Bale6224
3Ivor Allchurch6823
=Trevor Ford3823
5Dean Saunders7522

What next?

Wales' next fixture could be the toughest of their qualifying campaign, away against Group D second seeds Austria on 6 October.

Austria won 2-1 in Georgia on Monday and, with Serbia and the Republic of Ireland drawing 2-2 in Belgrade, this group is expected to be wide open.

Sterner challenges await Coleman's side but this victory - their biggest winning margin in a competitive game since 2003 - will lift hopes of qualifying for a first World Cup in 60 years.

Man of the match - Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale
The Real Madrid forward was not at his absolute best but he intimidated Moldova's defence with his direct running and took his first goal ruthlessly

Line-ups

Wales

  • 1Hennessey
  • 2Gunter
  • 5Chester
  • 6WilliamsSubstituted forCollinsat 82'minutes
  • 4Davies
  • 3Taylor
  • 16LedleySubstituted forHuwsat 67'minutes
  • 7Allen
  • 8King
  • 18VokesSubstituted forRobson-Kanuat 75'minutes
  • 11Bale

Substitutes

  • 9Robson-Kanu
  • 10Huws
  • 12Fon Williams
  • 13GC Williams
  • 14MacDonald
  • 15Richards
  • 17Cotterill
  • 19Collins
  • 20Lawrence
  • 21Ward
  • 22Dummett
  • 23Church

Moldova

  • 1Cebanu
  • 22Jardan
  • 15Cascaval
  • 6Epureanu
  • 2Armas
  • 7Ionita
  • 8Gatcan
  • 17Cojocari
  • 10DedovBooked at 11minsSubstituted forMihaliovat 85'minutes
  • 9CebotaruSubstituted forSidorencoat 75'minutes
  • 11GinsariSubstituted forBugaevat 75'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Golovatenco
  • 4Cociuc
  • 5Racu
  • 12Namasco
  • 14Bordian
  • 16Picusceac
  • 18Ivanov
  • 19Mihaliov
  • 20Sidorenco
  • 21Bugaev
  • 23Koselev
Referee:
Liran Liany
Attendance:
31,731

Match Stats

Home TeamWalesAway TeamMoldova
Possession
Home58%
Away42%
Shots
Home13
Away3
Shots on Target
Home7
Away0
Corners
Home5
Away0
Fouls
Home6
Away16

Live Text

Match ends, Wales 4, Moldova 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Wales 4, Moldova 0.

Goal!

Goal! Wales 4, Moldova 0. Gareth Bale (Wales) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Penalty Wales. Gareth Bale draws a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty conceded by Andrian Cascaval (Moldova) after a foul in the penalty area.

Offside, Wales. Gareth Bale tries a through ball, but Andy King is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Hal Robson-Kanu (Wales) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Gareth Bale (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Andrei Cojocari (Moldova).

Joe Allen (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Aleksandru Gatcan (Moldova).

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

Foul by Andrian Cascaval (Moldova).

Foul by James Chester (Wales).

Igor Bugaev (Moldova) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Moldova. Maxim Mihaliov tries a through ball, but Eugeniu Sidorenco is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Moldova. Maxim Mihaliov replaces Alexandru Dedov.

Emyr Huws (Wales) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Igor Armas (Moldova).

Substitution

Substitution, Wales. James Collins replaces Ashley Williams.

Attempt missed. Andy King (Wales) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Emyr Huws.

Attempt missed. Igor Armas (Moldova) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Ion Jardan.

Substitution

Substitution, Moldova. Igor Bugaev replaces Radu Ginsari.

Substitution

Substitution, Moldova. Eugeniu Sidorenco replaces Eugeniu Cebotaru.

Substitution

Substitution, Wales. Hal Robson-Kanu replaces Sam Vokes.

Attempt missed. Gareth Bale (Wales) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Emyr Huws.

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Alexandru Epureanu.

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Alexandru Dedov.

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Alexandru Epureanu.

Attempt blocked. Andy King (Wales) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Joe Allen with a headed pass.

Substitution

Substitution, Wales. Emyr Huws replaces Joe Ledley.

Foul by Joe Ledley (Wales).

Radu Ginsari (Moldova) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Offside, Moldova. Ion Jardan tries a through ball, but Radu Ginsari is caught offside.

Joe Ledley (Wales) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Andrei Cojocari (Moldova).

Joe Ledley (Wales) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Andrei Cojocari (Moldova).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Sam Vokes (Wales) because of an injury.

goal

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belarus00000000
2Bulgaria00000000
3France00000000
4Luxembourg00000000
5Netherlands00000000
6Sweden00000000

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Andorra00000000
2Faroe Islands00000000
3Hungary00000000
4Latvia00000000
5Portugal00000000
6Switzerland00000000

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany11003033
2Azerbaijan11001013
3Czech Rep10100001
4Northern Ireland10100001
5San Marino100101-10
6Norway100103-30

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Wales11004043
2Austria11002113
3R. of Ireland10102201
4Serbia10102201
5Georgia100112-10
6Moldova100104-40

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Denmark11001013
2Kazakhstan10102201
3Poland10102201
4Montenegro10101101
5Romania10101101
6Armenia100101-10

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Scotland11005143
2England11001013
3Lithuania10102201
4Slovenia10102201
5Slovakia100101-10
6Malta100115-40

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain11008083
2Italy11003123
3Albania00000000
4Macedonia00000000
5Israel100113-20
6Liechtenstein100108-80

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium00000000
2Bos-Herze00000000
3Cyprus00000000
4Estonia00000000
5Gibraltar00000000
6Greece00000000

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia10101101
2Finland10101101
3Iceland10101101
4Kosovo10101101
5Turkey10101101
6Ukraine10101101
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