“Winning is a mindset,” said Cymru striker Kieffer Moore in Helsinki, after scoring the winning goal against Finland in the UEFA Nations League opener. “As a team, we will keep doing what we can to keep winning.”
Finland 0-1 Cymru
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE
- Thursday, 3 September 2020
- Helsingin Olympiastadion, Helsinki
After seeing his headed connection from a Dan James cross hit the back of the net in the 4th minute, Moore had his goal ruled out by the referee for an alleged infringement in the box.
However, the same pair combined at the twilight end of the match when James squared a low ball across the front of goal after being released down the left by a quick free kick in midfield. Moore, who had worked hard at both ends of the pitch all through the match, was able to get the ball across the line to give Cymru victory.
“I’m really pleased for him,” said Cymru manager Ryan Giggs after the match. “He kept plugging away and I’m happy that he got his reward with a goal.”
The 80th minute winner wasn’t the only thing that Giggs was pleased about, after he handed out Cymru debuts to Dylan Levitt, Neco Williams and Ben Cabango.
Levitt started the match and Giggs feels the experience will benefit the Manchester United midfielder. “I thought Dylan grew into the game,” commented Giggs. “I thought his composure throughout the match was really good.”
On Williams and Cabango, he added: “Neco came on and his energy and quality shone through and although Ben got less time, all three debutantes will be big players for Wales in the future.”
It has been 10 months since Cymru last played in November 2019, when a 2-0 victory over Hungary booked their place at EURO 2020, which was postponed until the summer of 2021 due to the pandemic.
As a result, both Finland and Cymru had considerations for player welfare, utilising their substitutions, with Gareth Bale being withdrawn from this Nations League match by Giggs at half-time.
With an eye on Bulgaria in Cardiff on Sunday (6 September), Giggs said: “Forty-five minutes was always the plan for Gareth. He’s played the least amount of football than anyone else.”
This was a third consecutive victory for Giggs, who will be pleased to get through the game without any apparent injuries as he looks ahead to the match against Bulgaria.
Cymru go into the game top of their Nations League group, after the Bulgarian were held to a 1-1 draw at home against the Republic of Ireland.
FINLAND: Hradecky; Uronen, Vaisanen, Ojala, O'Shaughnessy; Kauko (Jensen 70’), Sparv (C) (Lam 76’), Kamara, Niskanen (Soiri 86’); Pohjanpalo, Pukki. Subs not used: Joronen, Jaakkola, Granlund, Hostikka, Taylor, Vaisanen, Alho, Karajalainen, Hamalainen.
Yellow cards: Sparv 26’, Pukki 48’, Vaisanen 72’
CYMRU: Hennessey; C Roberts, Ampadu, Lockyer, B Davies; Levitt, Morrell; Bale (C) (Wilson 46’), J Williams (N Williams 60), James (Cabango 90+1’); Moore. Subs not used: Ward, A Davies, Gunter, J Lawrence, Robson-Kanu, Matondo, Smith, Woodburn, Vaulks.
Yellow cards: Morrell 36’, C Roberts 69’, Wilson 86’, Moore 90+2’
Goal: Moore 80’
Referee: Daniel Siebert