Gemma Grainger's side cruised to a 6-0 victory in Cymru's opening match of their FIFA Women's World Cup Qualifying campaign against Kazakhstan.
2023 FIFA Women's World Cup
Cymru 6-0 Kazakhstan
Goals: Kayleigh Green x2, Natasha Harding, Rachel Rowe, Gemma Evans, Ceri Holland.
Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli
Six wonderful goals by Kayleigh Green, Natasha Harding, Rachel Rowe, Gemma Evans and Ceri Holland entertained the crowd in an impressive victory at Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli.
From the outset, Grainger’s side enjoyed most of the possession, often forcing Kazakhstan to play very deep. Cymru started brightly with early chances for Harding and Green – Harding with a header saved by the keeper and Green with another header going over the bar.
After 10 minutes, Evans also came close from a Cymru corner. Rowe expertly crossed the ball into the box which fell to Evans’ head and forced a goal-line clearance from Saratovtseva. With Cymru’s high press, it was only a matter of time that a goal would come.
It soon came after just 17 minutes. Holland’s pass forced an error from Nurusheva and Green was in the right place to capitalize on the miss hit. With space on her side, Green struck cleanly on the edge of the box into the top right-hand corner, leaving Kazakhstan’s goal-keeper watching it strike the back of the net.
Cymru were controlling the play with ease at the half hour mark, when Ingle played a lovely through ball to Harding. Harding took a touch, turned and guided the ball perfectly inside the far post. It’s safe to say the crowd enjoyed the first half spectacle.
Grainger’s side continued their dominance well into the second half and were clearly chasing more goals. After 54 minutes, Fishlock found Rowe in space 30 yards out when she unleashed an unbelievable strike into the top left-hand corner, earning a rapturous applause from the home crowd. This goal was symptomatic of the confidence with which Cymru played all evening.
The home side’s flowing style continued to cause problems to Kazakhstan, with Saratovtsev making an excellent double save to deny Cymru. Her efforts however were soon in vain. From the subsequent short corner routine, Rowe crossed to Green who headed the ball into the back of the net.
Evans who had come close in the first half, finally converted after 90 minutes, heading home from yet another corner. The desire for goals didn’t stop there. 2 minutes later Ceri Holland joined the scoresheet, securing her first ever goal in the red of Cymru and taking the final tally to 6 goals to nil.
Gemma Grainger could not have asked for a better st.art to this FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying campaign. “I was so pleased for the whole team performance, it was exactly what we wanted.”
The side will now travel to Tallinn to face Estonia on Tuesday 21 September where the campaign continues.
CYMRU: 1. Laura O'Sullivan, 3. Gemma Evans, 4. Sophie Ingle (c), 5. Rhiannon Roberts (17. Esther Morgan 86'), 8. Angharad James (20. Carrie Jones 71'), 9. Kayleigh Green (7. Helen Ward 74'), 10. Jessica Fishlock, 11. Natasha Harding (19. Megan Wynne 86'), 13. Rachel Rowe, 14. Hayley Ladd, 18. Ceri Holland.
Subs: 12. Olivia Clark, 21. Poppy Soper, 2. Lily Woodham, 6. Josie Green, 15. Elise Hughes, 16. Charlie Estcourt, 22. Anna Filbey, 23. Ffion Morgan.
KAZAKHSTAN: 12. Irina Saratovtseva, 4. Aigerim Aitymova, 5. Mariya Demidova (16. Asselkhan Turlybekova 84'), 7. Madina Zhanatayeva, 9. Bibigul Nurusheva, 13. Svetlana Bortnikova (17. Karina Zhumabaikyzy 68'), 15. Yulia Myasnikova, 19. Fatima Satygaliyeva (2. Kundyz Kozhakhmet 45'), 20. Alexandra Burova (16. Asselkhan Turlybekova 84'), 21. Ksenia Khairulina (8. Begaim Kirgizbaeva 46'), 23. Anastassiya Vlassova.
Subs: 1. Nazym Ismailova, 18. Angelina Portnova, 10. Tatyana Sosnovskaya, 14 Aisha Sadykova.