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By Dafydd Pritchard
BBC Sport Wales at Cardiff City Stadium
Gareth Bale saved Wales because his goal out of a home draw against Azerbaijan snatched success to give their stuttering bid to qualify for Euro 2020 a much-needed lift.
Ryan Giggs’ side shot a first-half lead to style as before moving past a Salahat Agayev from the Azerbaijan target, the ball high into the air from a Bale shot that was preoccupied and hit on an Pavlo Pashayev.
But that just papered over the cracks of a cluttered screen from Wales, who surrendered a gloomy equaliser since Neil Taylor saw Mahir Emreli dent on the rally after Wayne Hennessey could only parry his initial effort that was weak and gave the ball away.
But with a little more than five seconds ago, Wales captain and all-time leading goalscorer Bale came to their rescue after again because he headed in from close range, through the crossbar, to spark wild parties which revealed how close the hosts had come to blowing off their chances of qualifying for Euro 2020.
The result lifts up Wales to next in Group E – degree on six points with all fourth-placed Slovakia – while Croatia’s thumping win against Slovakia sees the World Cup finalists combine leaders Hungary on nine factors.
Back-to-back defeats against Croatia and Hungary – the first time Wales had lost consecutive qualifiers for decades – had left precious little room for error to Giggs’ side for the rest of this campaign.
The director himself admitted Wales would have to”win nearly every game currently”, beginning with success here against a diminished Azerbaijan facet who had never won a European Championship qualifier from your home.
Regardless of being 85 regions above their opponents in the world ranks, Wales struggled to impose themselves at a first half low on quality.
It was fitting, therefore, that the opening goal needs to arrive in conditions that are farcical that are such.
Pashayev was not even looking at the ball when it fell down from a terrific height and then struck him on the side of his head.
Wales could laugh at their good luck, however it was a distraction from their failure to create scoring chances against weak resistance.
Bale looked livelier than he had done in June however, despite supplying a couple of sights on goal to Tom Lawrence, the Derby completing lacked the cutting edge that was mandatory.
Wales were not too worried. As long as victory was secure, there was expectation, A convincing performance would have lifted spirits however.
After Azerbaijan hit stun the Cardiff City Stadium but that changed after a hour.
Taylor made the error, cheaply giving away possession, and after a through-ball from Ramil Sheydaev, neither Taylor nor even Chris Mepham could grab Emreli, who capitalised on Hennessey’s inability to maintain his shot by shooting in the rally.
The floor was rippled around by A sense of foreboding. Can it be a return to the bad old times for Wales?
Regardless of the tension, the house fans refused to think so and they roared at the closing stages in their side.
Wales hauled forward in a desperate search for a goal and, with Azerbaijan not able to apparent after Joe Allen shot pin-balled around the box, Bale increased superbly to venture in off the bar.
It was likely Bale will be Wales’ saviour, since he was in Andorra in 2014 a year 25, and in Cyprus.
He is an icon of Welsh football who is capable as he’s dragging his group off the 26, of rising to the occasions.
This was certainly true of the latterand there was a part of salvation for Bale given his summertime for country and club.
In June, he also cut a frustrated forlorn figure as Wales were beaten in Hungary and Croatia while speculation raged about his Real Madrid future.
Having not played for six months, Bale’s sluggish body language spoke of a discontent shaped in Spain, in which he had been marginalised by Real manager Zinedine Zidane and seemed set to the Super League.
But that transfer and injuries to players such as Eden Hazard’s collapse prompted a transformation in Bale’s status since he started the first three league games of this year of Real and score.
These were his first goals since March and they appeared to energise Bale against Azerbaijan. He awakened Wales’ assault and ran back to aid his defenders on over one event.
His aim was a deserved reward for his efforts, and it prompted a tale of their fist on the touchline from Giggs, who will have been relieved as anybody from the scene.
Having dropped seven of the first 13 games in charge, yet another defeat may have been terminal for Welsh hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020 – and it could have place Giggs under immense pressure.
For his side, at Bale, Wales possess a saviour for several seasons.
Read more here: http://zaghetarredamenti.it/?p=5720