Wales defeat Latvia as Cardiff pays tribute to Bale

Debutant Nathan Broadhead scored in injury time against Croatia on Saturday to earn Wales a valuable point on the road, and Rob Page’s side looked to build on that as they returned to the Cardiff City Stadium. Emotions were running high ahead of their fixture against Latvia, as the Red Wall were set to pay tribute to the legendary Gareth Bale, who recently announced his retirement from football.

WAL: Ward; Williams, Rodon, Mepham; James, Ampadu, Morrell, Roberts; Ramsey, Wilson; Moore

LAT: Steinbors; Sorokins, Cernomordijs, Oss, Savalnieks; Ciganiks, Tobers, Zjuzins, Ikaunieks; Uldrikis, Gutkovsis

Wales looked to pick up an early goal against their Eastern European opponents, with Dan James whipping a ball in towards Harry Wilson within the first five minutes of this encounter – but Wilson’s strike was pushed away well by Steinbors.

Marcis Oss could have sent Latvia ahead in the 17th minute as he launched a volley towards goal from a corner, but Leicester City’s Danny Ward was able to make a fine save to deny the centre-back the opener.

It was the hosts that eventually found the first goal though, as Kieffer Moore managed to lose his defender and head home at the far post from Dan James’ cross. Rob Page’s side could have doubled their lead before the break as Harry Wilson struck a speculative effort from thirty yards out in injury time, but Steinbors did well to tip his strike away from the bottom corner.

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Dan James had been brilliant on the left flank throughout the first half, and he started the second half in a similar fashion. The ex-Leeds winger played in Neco Williams on the edge of the box, but the full-back’s effort was tipped onto the crossbar by Steinbors who had done well to limit the damage caused by Wales’ impressive firepower. The Latvian ‘keeper was forced into action again soon after as Dan James found Harry Wilson with a beautiful ball over the top, but his volley was denied by the 37-year-old.

Latvia did have a few chances as the game progressed, but nothing came to fruition for the visitors who ultimately headed home with nothing to show. Rob Page’s side have made a promising start to their qualifying campaign, and sit top of their group – level on points with Croatia and a point ahead of Turkey. Wales return to qualifying action on June 16th, when they are set to host Armenia.

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