A late Daniel James header provided Cymru with a 1-0 win over Czech Republic to kick-start their Group E FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.
Cymru 1-0 Czech Republic
FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFIER
- Tuesday, 30 March 2021
- Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff
In a tepid affair, both sides approached the fixture with an element of caution. Rob Page opted to leave Kieffer Moore on the bench, after his winner against Mexico earlier in the week, whilst Danny Ward retained his place in the side for this evening’s competitive fixture.
Neither side were able to impose themselves in the first half. Despite Jakub Jankto threatening Ward’s goal twice, Cymru had the best opportunity. Neco Williams crossed from the left hand side for Gareth Bale, who had peeled at the back post, but his volley was saved by Tomáš Vaclík.
Early on in the second half, Rob Page’s men were handed a timely boost. Patrik Schick was given his marching orders for his aerial challenge on Connor Roberts, who has also booked in the fray.
Despite the man advantage, Cymru failed to capitalise for the most part. Page introduced Moore for Mepham, in a tactical switch, but struggled to produce any chances of note.
With 13 minutes remaining, Cymru’s man advantage eroded when Roberts was handed a second yellow for another aerial battle, as the two sides were forced to see out the final ten minutes with ten men apiece.
However, with nine minutes remaining, Cymru found a way to snatch victory. From a throw in, Bale was returned the ball on the left flank, he paused and darted past his defender before delivering a pinpoint cross into the area for James, who drifted in between two defenders, to head downwards and past Vaclík to give Cymru the lead.
Drama was still to come though. In the dying embers of the game, Joe Rodon was forced to make a last ditch challenge to block what seemed a certain goal for the visitors, as Cymru held on for all three points.
Cymru: 12. Danny Ward, 22. Chris Mepham (13. Kieffer Moore 56’), 6. Joe Rodon, 4. James Lawrence, 14. Connor Roberts, 16. Joe Morrell, 15. Ethan Ampadu, 3. Neco Williams, 11. Gareth Bale, 10. Harry Wilson (8. Jonny Williams 76’), 20. Daniel James
Subs Not Used: 1. Wayne Hennessey, 2. Chris Gunter, 5. Ben Cabango, 7. Tom Lawrence, 9. Brennan Johnson, 17. Rhys Norrington-Davies, 18. Josh Sheehan, 21. Adam Davies, 23. Dylan Levitt.
Czech Republic: 1. Tomáš Vaclík, 3. Ondřej Čelüstka, 17. Ondřej Kúdela (Antonín Barák, 87’), 5. Vladimír Coufal (20. Matěj Vydra, 87’), 18. Jan Bořil, 15. Tomáš Souček, 21. Tomáš Holeš (11. Michael Krmenčík, 53), 8. Vladimír Darida, 13. Lukáš Provod (Pavel Kadeřábek, 82’), 14. Jakub Jankto (12. Lukáš Masopust, 82’), 10. Patrik Schick
Subs Not Used: 2. Pavel Kadeřábek, 4. David Zima, 6. Patrizio Stronati, 9. David Pavelka, 16. Aleš Mandous, 19. Jakub Pešek, 22. Tomáš Pekhart, 23. Jiří Pavlenka