European Championship Qualifying

Wales 2-1 Cyprus

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Wales Sport at the Cardiff City Stadium
Hal Robson-Kanu
Hal Robson-Kanu netted only his second international goal for Wales
  • Unbeaten Wales remain top of Group B
  • Bale sets up Robson-Kanu goal and hits bar
  • Wales' King sent off for dangerous challenge
  • Hosts hold on in tense finale

Wales clung on for a nerve-shredding win over Cyprus to remain top of their Euro 2016 qualifying group.

Wales appeared to be coasting as goals from David Cotterill and Hal Robson-Kanu - the latter a stylish team effort - gave them an early 2-0 lead.

But a goal from Vincent Laban and a red card for Wales midfielder Andy King gave Cyprus hope of claiming only their second victory in 16 matches.

A tactically disciplined display was enough, however, for a precious three points which gives Wales their best start to a qualifying campaign since 2002.

Wales' remaining Euro 2016 qualifiers
Cyprus (a) 3 September 2015
Belgium (a) 16 November 2014; (h) 12 June 2015
Israel (a) 28 March 2015; (h) 6 September 2015
Bosnia-Hercegovina (a) 10 October 2015
Andorra (h) 13 October 2015

Wales made two change to the side that drew 0-0 with Bosnia-Hercegovina - Robson-Kanu replacing the injured Jonathan Williams and left-back Ben Davies making way for young Fulham winger George Williams - and the hosts were forced into another early alteration as Simon Church suffered a shoulder injury and had to be replaced by Cotterill.

And it was the substitute who gave Wales the lead as an inswinging cross from evaded its intended targets and bounced into the far corner.

While Cotterill's opener was more than a touch fortuitous, Wales doubled their lead with a sumptuous team goal.

Gareth Bale's delightful backheel set Robson-Kanu free for the Reading forward to slot the ball between the legs of Cyprus goalkeeper Tasos Kissas.

Euro 2016 Group B qualifying table

At this point Wales were attacking at will, with Bale, Cotterill, Robson-Kanu and Williams all benefitting from loose Cypriot defending.

But, against the run of play, the visitors clawed themselves back into the tie as Laban's floated free-kick evaded Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and a handful of defenders on the line before nestling in the far corner.

The hosts' slender advantage made for a nervy atmosphere at the Cardiff City Stadium, and the home crowd's concerns grew when King was dismissed just two minutes after the restart for an ankle-high challenge on Cyprus captain Constantinos Makridis.

Having been in total command early in the game, Wales now faced the challenge of holding on to their lead with a man less for almost an entire half.

There were a couple of scares - George Efrem wasted Cyprus's best chance as he headed over from close range - but Wales dug deep for a valuable victory which strengthens their grip on top spot in Group B.

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale was the victim of a cynical challenge early on, which saw Marios Nikolaou booked
David Cotterill
Substitute David Cotterill (centre) put Wales ahead after he had only been on the pitch for seven minutes
Gareth Bale
Bale was involved in the build-up to Wales' second goal, which Hal Robson-Kanu scored
Andy King
Andy King was shown a straight red card for a poor challenge two minutes into the second half
Andy King
Wales had to play for the last 43 minutes with 10 men following King's dismissal



Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Hennessey
  • 2Gunter
  • 4Chester
  • 6Williams
  • 3Taylor
  • 10Robson-KanuSubstituted forTaylorat 85'minutes
  • 8KingBooked at 47mins
  • 16LedleyBooked at 5mins
  • 23WilliamsSubstituted forEdwardsat 58'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 11BaleBooked at 48mins
  • 9ChurchSubstituted forCotterillat 6'minutesBooked at 34mins


  • 5Davies
  • 7Edwards
  • 12Fon Williams
  • 13Cotterill
  • 14Gabbidon
  • 15Williams
  • 17Lawrence
  • 18Ricketts
  • 19Edwards
  • 20Taylor
  • 21Letheren
  • 22John


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 12Kissas
  • 8KyriakouBooked at 85mins
  • 4MerkisBooked at 90mins
  • 2Júnior Dossa MomadeSubstituted forAngeliat 29'minutesBooked at 39minsSubstituted forPapathanasiouat 85'minutes
  • 15Antoniades
  • 14Laban
  • 23NikolaouBooked at 4minsSubstituted forAlexandrouat 68'minutes
  • 9Christofi
  • 13Makridis
  • 17Efrem
  • 20SotiriouBooked at 64mins


  • 1Georgallidis
  • 3Aresti
  • 5Sielis
  • 6Angeli
  • 7Papathanasiou
  • 10Charalambidis
  • 11Alexandrou
  • 16Kolokoudias
  • 18Artymatas
  • 19Stylianou
  • 21Makris
  • 22Loizou
Manuel Gräfe

Match Stats

Home TeamWalesAway TeamCyprus
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Wales 2, Cyprus 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Wales 2, Cyprus 1.

  3. Booking

    Giorgos Merkis (Cyprus) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Giorgos Merkis (Cyprus).

  5. Post update

    Gareth Bale (Wales) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Wales. Conceded by Pieros Sotiriou.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Wales. Conceded by Vincent Laban.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Wales. Conceded by Vincent Laban.

  9. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Gareth Bale (Wales) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Chris Gunter.

  10. Booking

    Dave Edwards (Wales) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  11. Post update

    Constantinos Makridis (Cyprus) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Dave Edwards (Wales).

  13. Post update

    Foul by Nektarious Alexandrou (Cyprus).

  14. Post update

    Chris Gunter (Wales) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Dave Edwards (Wales) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Neil Taylor with a cross following a corner.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Wales. Conceded by Georgios Efrem.

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. David Cotterill (Wales) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is blocked.

  18. Booking

    Charis Kyriakou (Cyprus) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Charis Kyriakou (Cyprus).

  20. Post update

    Gareth Bale (Wales) wins a free kick on the left wing.