Wales vs Azerbaijan
European Qualifiers Group E
7:45pm Friday 6th September
Cardiff City Stadium
Gareth Bale spared Wales a night that was humiliating in Euro 2020 qualifying .
Bale struck on his 32nd goal for Wales six minutes from time, rising to head home after Joe Allen’s shot was deflected into the Cardiff air.
Mahir Emreli punished a sloppy home display with a equaliser, although wales had been gifted a lead when a bizarre own goal was scored by Pavlo Pashayev.
Azerbaijan are ranked 109th in the world – a whopping 85 areas below Wales – and their sole wins came from the Faroe Islands and San Marino.
As Wales sought a route to target Bale fell, but there was little cause for controversy before the eccentric intervention of Pashayev.
Spun to the atmosphere and the Wales captain flipped on infield to hit. Azerbaijan seemed to have little to be worried about, however, Salahat Agayev came hurrying out of his goal and the ball struck Pasahayev’s head and trickled in to an unguarded net.
Azerbaijan had their own moment of good fortune when Emreli escaped with a swinging arm the Maltese referee showing his own side, Chris Mepham.
Wales struggled to get out of first gear once Azerbaijan landed a sucker punch. Neil Taylor’s mistake permitted Ramil Sheydaev to release Emreli, who had the liberty of their Wales half to run into.
Wayne Hennessey failed to maintain both the shot and the rally was summarily dispatched, although the attempt of emreli was tame.
Wales poured forward in search of a winner, but time was running out before Bale – as he has often done in the past – established their saviour.
Wales host Belarus on Monday night, live on Sky Sports Premier League out of 7.40pm; kick-off at 7.45pm. Azerbaijan’s next game at home to Croatia can be live on Sky Sports Football out of 4.55pm Monday; kick-off at 5pm.
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