Wales 2-1 Cyprus: Ten-man Dragons secure battling victory to top Group B

first_img1 Wales celebrate victory over Cyprus in Cardiff A ten-man Wales continued an unbeaten start to their Euro 2016 qualification campaign with a gritty 2-1 victory over Cyprus in Cardiff.It was initially a slow start from the hosts, but two quick breaks saw Chris Coleman’s men open up a 2-0 lead inside 23 minutes.Wales suffered an early casualty when striker Simon Church went down clutching his shoulder and had to be replaced by David Cotterill after only six minutes, but it was the substitute who stuck first.Man-of-the-match Gareth Bale was the predictable catalyst for the Dragons and it was his snap shot which provided the chance, with Cyprus failing to clear and Cotterill whipping a cross into the box which evaded everyone in the box to nestle in the corner of the Cypriot net.And the Real Madrid star was at the centre of the home side’s second, too, with a clever back heel putting Reading forward Hal Robson-Kanu through on goal, who ran on to coolly slot past goalkeeper Anastasios Kissas.Wales looked in control at the Cardiff City Stadium, but the home support’s celebrations were cut short when Cyprus pulled one back moments later through a clinical Vincent Laban free-kick.Coleman’s side didn’t enjoy the best start to the second-half either, with Andy King sent off less than two-minutes after the restart for a dangerous challenge on Cyprus captain Constantinos Makridis, but the plucky Welsh held on.Bale was probably left black and blue from the treatment he was receiving from the Cypriots, with the winger constantly scythed down as he attempted to burst down the wing and into the box, but German referee Manuel Grafe refused to even the contest despite the hosts’ increasing frustration.Neither side mustered any cutting-edge in the second-half, and the visitors squandered their best chance for an equaliser as Georgios Efrem sent a free header in the box just over the bar, while the closest Wales came to a third was a Bale free-kick, which was tipped onto the bar by Kissas.But it mattered little to Coleman and his men, as they ran down time in the corner to help secure a vital win for their qualification hopes.Three points sees Wales remain at the top of Group B ahead of their next meeting with World Cup quarter-finalists Belgium.last_img