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Sport Wales beat Azerbaijan and this is what we now need to happen to qualify for Euro 2020 on Tuesday

22:25  16 november  2019
22:25  16 november  2019 Source:   walesonline.co.uk

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Valon Berisha et al. playing football on a field © PA Wales gave their Euro 2020 qualifying hopes a huge boost with a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan in Baku.

First half goals from Kieffer Moore and Harry Wilson ensured Ryan Giggs' men earned all three points in the Group E encounter at the Bakcell Arena.

It means Wales will qualify for next year's tournament if they beat Hungary on Tuesday night and Slovakia drop points against either Croatia or Azerbaijan.

Slovakia face 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia in Trnava at 7:45pm tonight.

If Slovakia win that fixture, Wales will need to beat Hungary and hope Slovakia fail to win against Azerbaijan on Tuesday.

a group of people playing football on a field © PA

Much of the pre-match buildup surrounded the fitness of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, with the latter not featuring for his country for a year prior to the game in Baku.

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And Juventus star Ramsey was named among the substitutes, with Wilson - in for Jonny Williams - being deployed in the No. 10 position while the other changes from the 1-1 draw with Croatia saw Chris Mepham and Joe Morrell replace Joe Rodon and Joe Allen.

The early exchanges were fairly low key, understandably so as far as the hosts were concerned given that they were well and truly out of the running to qualify.

Hundreds of blue seats were visible at the small 11,000-seater stadium, and Wales' domination of the ball drew plenty of jeers from the Azerbaijan supporters.

The visitors were drastically improved from their showing in the reverse fixture, and Wilson forced Emil Balayev into a smart stop in the seventh minute.

But it was the Bournemouth man's next action that ensured Wales made a dream start as his corner was headed home by Moore in the 10th minute.

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It was exactly the beginning Giggs would have so desperately craved, and the 1,200 or so members of the Red Wall in the away end made the most of the celebrations.

To their credit, Azerbaijan - who are rooted to the bottom of the group - did venture forward in numbers when possible, with Ethan Ampadu being booked for fouling Dmitri Nazarov.

After a spell of pandemonium in the stands, the Wales fans were more than happy to watch their side knock the ball around with confidence.

But they were breathing a sigh of relief soon after as Azerbaijan captain Gara Garayev drilled an effort just over Wayne Hennessey's crossbar.

They were making noise for different reasons in the 24th minute as they applauded in memory of supporter Dafydd Davis who sadly passed away last month.

And it was almost fitting that Moore twice came close to making it 2-0 with a pair of headers soon after.

Connor Roberts stung the palms of Balayev on the half hour mark, but it was Moore who should have extended Wales' advantage moments later as he was played through on goal by Daniel James, although his effort was well saved.

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But the second goal eventually came after 34 minutes as James' stunning strike hit the crossbar and the post, but Wilson was on hand to head the rebound into the empty net.

It was the 22-year-old's third goal for his country and his first for Wales since the 1-0 win over Republic of Ireland in October last year, which was coincidentally the Red Dragons' last away triumph prior to Baku.

a group of people playing football on a field © PA

They had to survive two penalty shouts in the final stages of the opening half while James fired an effort over, but Wales went into the break in complete control, which was all Giggs could have asked for.

It was certainly more enjoyable for Wales fans than it was in the nervy encounter between the sides in September.

They were even able to air a to the tune of the more traditional Viva Gareth Bale song, such was the enjoyable experience.

And they were almost celebrating a third goal five minutes after the restart as Tom Lockyer headed home from a corner, although Ampadu was penalised for a foul in the buildup.

The chances continued to come, with Balayev pulling off a fine one-handed save to tip Wilson's strike wide of the mark.

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Ramsey was sent on for the final 30 minutes, with Bale being taken off ahead of Tuesday night's clash against Hungary.

Moore had an effort deflected wide on the hour mark before failing to hit the target with a header in the 71st minute.

Ramil Sheydaev and Moore then fired efforts wide in quick succession, although Wales remained relatively untroubled late on, with Nazarov curling a free-kick over.

And they were able to celebrate what could prove to be a pivotal away victory after what was a thoroughly professional display in the capital of Azerbaijan.

a group of young men playing a game of football © PA

Azerbaijan:  Balayev; Pashayev, Mustafazade, B Huseynov, Krivotsyuk (Khalilzade 46); Garayev (C), Richard Almeida; A Abdullayev (Ramazanov 64), Nazarov (J Huseynov 82), S Rahimov; Sheydaev.

Subs not used: S Agayev, Dzhenetov, Makhmudov, Isgandarli, Jamalov, Aliyev, A Huseynov, Ren Dadasov.

Yellow cards: Nazarov 40, Sheydaev 68, S Rahimov 89, J Huseynov 89

Wales: Hennessey; C Roberts, Mepham, Lockyer, B Davies; Morrell, Ampadu (Vaulks 87); Bale (C) (Ramsey 59), Wilson, James (Matondo 82); Moore.

Subs not used: A Davies, King, Gunter, J Lawrence, A Williams, Smith, Vokes, Levitt, T Roberts.

Goals: Moore 10, Wilson 34

Yellow cards: Ampadu 13, Morrell 80, Wilson 89, Matondo 90+3

Referee: Deniz Aytekin

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