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Five-star Wales thump Belarus in qualifier

Gareth Bale in action on his 100th appearance. Photo by Colin Ewart

WALES produced a five-star performance on Saturday night (Nov 13) as they beat Belarus 5-1 at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Wales knew they already had a play-off spot secured following other results but they also knew they could not take their eyes off the ball against a tricky Belarussian side.

However, any early nerves were soon extinguished as Aaron Ramsey tapped in after the keeper had spilled the ball.

With twenty minutes gone, Gareth Bale, making his 100th appearance for Wales, set up Neco Williams whose shot squeezed in despite the attentions of the keeper.

It remained 2-0 at half time and Bale was taken off at the break to be replaced by Brennan Johnson who has been in fine form for Nottingham Forest of late.

Four minutes into the second half Wales had a third as Johnson challenged for the ball in the box and the referee, eventually, pointed to the spot after it had hit a Belarussian defender’s arm.

Captain Aaron Ramsey stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to put the home side in a comfortable position.

Wales fans wanted a penalty twenty minutes into the second half as Dan James was challenged on the turn but the referee gave a corner instead.

Neco Williams then went close to scoring as he curled a shot towards goal but the ball clipped the top of the net.

With fourteen minutes to go Wales won a corner and the ball hit Ben Davies on the shoulder and bounced into the bottom corner of the net.

With seven minutes to go the hosts had a free kick which Harry Wilson fired in and it fell, somewhat unexpectedly, at the feet of Davies and the ball hit him and rolled into the arms of the Belarussian keeper.

Wales keeper Dan Ward was called upon to save a header soon after but the Belarussians did get a goal four minutes from the end as Artem Kontsevoi curled a beautiful shot into the bottom right corner of the net.

A minute later though Wales had a fifth as Willson’s free kick was flicked on into the net by Connor Roberts.

Keeper Ward was then withdrawn to make way for Wayne Hennessey.

That was the last of the action as Wales secured an excellent win ahead of their game with Belgium on Tuesday.