Wales 4 - 1 Republic of Ireland: Gareth Bale special for Wales helps Ryan Giggs land crushing Nations League win



Posted Friday, September 07, 2018 by PA

Wales 4 - 1 Republic of Ireland: Gareth Bale special for Wales helps Ryan Giggs land crushing Nations League win

Ryan Giggs had a homecoming to remember as Wales began their Nations League campaign in style with a 4-1 demolition of the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff.

Tom Lawrence, Gareth Bale – with his 30th goal for Wales – Aaron Ramsey and Connor Roberts were on target before Republic substitute Shaun Williams provided some cheer for the visitors.

The victory might not have erased the pain of Wales’ World Cup elimination last October when the Republic won 1-0 at the same Cardiff City Stadium venue.

But the manner of the performance, with talented youngsters Ethan Ampadu and David Brooks excelling on their first competitive starts and Bale at his brilliant best, gave a tantalising glimpse of the bright future that could lie ahead under manager Giggs.

Wales 4 - 1 Republic of Ireland: Gareth Bale special for Wales helps Ryan Giggs land crushing Nations League win
Wales manager Ryan Giggs directs the show from the touchline (David Davies/PA)

Martin O’Neill, in the other technical area, was taking charge of his 50th Republic game and knows he has his work cut out to enjoy success in UEFA’s new competition.

Harry Arter and Declan Rice had declared themselves unavailable, and James McClean, who had scored the Republic’s winner in Cardiff 11 months ago, headed a lengthy injury list that had reduced O’Neill’s options.

The selection of Chelsea midfielder Ampadu and Bournemouth forward Brooks in Giggs’ first competitive match as Wales manager – and first game on Welsh soil – had ended any lingering doubts over the international futures of the England-born pair.

Swansea full-back Roberts also made his first competitive appearance as Chris Gunter’s run of 63 consecutive caps came to an end.

Wales were determined to make amends for their World Cup heartbreak and the confident Ampadu was instantly at the heart of everything.

Wales 4 - 1 Republic of Ireland: Gareth Bale special for Wales helps Ryan Giggs land crushing Nations League win
Wales’ Ethan Ampadu battles with Republic of Ireland’s Callum Robinson (Mike Egerton/PA)

It was the teenager’s fine crossfield ball that sparked the move leading to Lawrence’s sixth-minute opener.

Roberts and Brooks were both involved before Joe Allen fed Lawrence and the Derby forward drilled his shot inside Republic goalkeeper Darren Randolph at his near post.

Callum O’Dowda saw his deflected shot held under the crossbar by Wayne Hennessey but Wales doubled their advantage in style after 17 minutes.

Ben Davies picked off O’Dowda’s pass and his raking ball sent Bale scampering free down the right.

The Republic were unable to stop Bale cutting inside on to his favourite left foot from 20 yards and there was no doubt that the ball would fly past Randolph for his landmark goal.

The visitors asked the odd question from set-pieces, but they had no answer to Wales’ pace and were being ripped apart by opponents playing with verve and energy.

Randolph pushed out efforts from Lawrence and Bale before Ampadu, pulling the strings throughout in midfield, delivered a perfectly weighted ball for Ramsey to again expose Randolph at his near post.

Shane Duffy sent a header straight at Hennessey soon after the restart, but Wales made it 4-0 when Bale’s square ball was expertly finished by Roberts for the 22-year-old’s first goal in senior football.

Wales 4 - 1 Republic of Ireland: Gareth Bale special for Wales helps Ryan Giggs land crushing Nations League win
Wales’ Connor Roberts scores his side’s fourth goal (Mike Egerton/PA)

Bale almost added another moments later with an audacious chip before Williams pounced on Ramsey’s 66th-minute slip to give the Republic some cheer and reduce the arrears.

Substitute Tyler Roberts was denied a debut goal by Randolph’s fingertips as Giggs gave Bale a breather ahead of their trip to Denmark on Sunday.

But Wales’ first competitive win over the Republic in five attempts was never in doubt.

Photos

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