Wales wallop lame Luxembourg

Wales completed preparations for their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign by sinking Luxembourg 5-1 in predictable fashion at Parc-y-Scarlets.

Last Updated: 11/08/10 at 22:42 Post Comment

Bellamy: On target for Wales

Bellamy: On target for Wales

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First international goals for David Cotterill, Andy King and Ashley Williams, plus a Joe Ledley penalty and late Craig Bellamy strike, underpinned Wales' sixth successive victory over Luxembourg.

Manager John Toshack though, will be the first to admit his team require an improvement to challenge group rivals England, Switzerland, Montenegro and Bulgaria.

Luxembourg were level at half-time following a spectacular Joel Kitenge effort, and only in the second period did Wales produce sustained passages of attacking play.

Skipper Bellamy, whose future at Manchester City is the subject of intense debate, relished a rare 90-minute workout.

Bellamy has hardly featured for City during preparations for the new Premier League season, but his appetite, industry and support-play showed he remains a class act - whether he remains at Eastlands or not.

His goal capped a superb display on his first international appearance this year, and Toshack will hope his star man's future can be resolved one way or the other sooner, rather than later.

Luxembourg had no answer to Bellamy's pace and guile down the left-hand side.

But there were also strong contributions from Nottingham Forest's Chris Gunter and Swansea defender Williams, while Millwall striker Steve Morison proved a hard-working debutant.

Toshack saw several players withdraw from his original squad for the Luxembourg clash in Llanelli - including Gareth Bale, Sam Vokes and Ched Evans - but he will feel Wales can cause problems for their Euro qualifying opponents if the main players stay fit.

The first-half was a laboured and disjointed affair, yet once Wales got their passing game going and maintained a high tempo, they created numerous chances.

Luxembourg inevitably folded under such sustained pressure, and they played the final 13 minutes with 10 men after Mario Mutsch was dismissed for a second yellow card.

Bellamy and Morison both looked to move the Luxembourg defence around early on, but the unheralded visitors kept their shape and Wales did not force a corner until the 15th minute.

Williams was then cautioned by Finnish referee Mattias Gestranius for a clumsy challenge, and for all their intent through Bellamy's attacking channel, Wales did little to excite a sparse crowd of just over 4,500.

Wales offered some encouragement when Bellamy and Cotterill sniffed out half-chances in quick succession, and Luxembourg found themselves under mounting pressure.

The breakthrough arrived 10 minutes before half-time when Robert Earnshaw's ball across the box was sweetly met by an unmarked Cotterill, who gave Joubert no chance.

Bellamy demanded his team keep the pace going, yet it was Luxembourg who drew level in spectacular fashion.

Kitenge hammered a spectacular shot, with the aid of a slight deflection, high into Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey's net, and there were plenty of furrowed Welsh brows as the teams trooped off at half-time.

Toshack made three interval changes, sending on Boaz Myhill for Hennessey, replacing Earnshaw with King and giving Blackpool's David Vaughan an opportunity instead of Brian Stock.

And it had the desired effect as Wales regained the lead through a 48th-minute penalty.

Bellamy was scythed down by Daniel Alves Da Mota - it earned the Luxembourg forward a yellow card - and Ledley tucked his spot-kick neatly into the corner.

Wales appeared much more fluent and decisive in the final third, and that quality was rewarded with a third goal after 55 minutes.

Bellamy again played a part, drilling in the corner that found an unmarked King, whose header flew past Joubert for a 3-1 advantage.

Wales continued to press, creating chances almost at will, but they could not add to their tally as the game moved into its final 20 minutes.

But when Luxembourg were reduced to 10 men after Mutsch received a second yellow card, Wales immediately made their one-man advantage count.

Toshack had grown increasingly frustrated with the visitors' heavy-duty second-half tactics, and Mutsch's one foul too many left Luxembourg at sixes and sevens.

Williams headed home goal number four, then Bellamy scored his 18th international goal, outstripping Luxembourg's defence and finishing superbly to end a satisfying night.

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