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DANIEL JAMES ‘late header gave Wales a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over the Czech Republic in a bad-tempered Cardiff affair.
Daniel James celebrates his goal with Neco Williams.
Both sides were reduced to 10 men when Connor Roberts and Patrick Schick saw red in separate incidents in the second half.
Schick was fired after becoming tangled with Roberts three minutes after the restart had, an incident in which the full-back was booked by Swansea.
Roberts received his second warning 13 minutes to go after hitting Tomas Soucek in the face during an air challenge. The West Ham midfielder made sure Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan caught the eye.
Wales quickly recovered from the setback when Gareth Bale crossed from the left on 81 minutes and James’ header down the desperate nosedive defeated Czech goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik for his fourth international goal.
The Dragons were looking for their first points in World Cup qualifying after losing their Group E starter in Belgium last week.
The Czech Republic – 24 places lower than Wales in the FIFA World Ranking at 42 – already had four points after winning 6-2 in Estonia and drew 1-1 at home against Belgium on Saturday.
Ondrej Kudela started for the visitors after his club initially prevented him from traveling to Wales.
Center-back Kudela was charged with Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara At the end of a tie in the Europa League on March 18, Slavia Prague had suggested that the player’s safety in Great Britain could not be guaranteed.
The Czechs did not take their knees before kick-off, but expressed their support for the fight against racism by referring to the UEFA respect inscription on the left sleeve of their shirts.
Wales made an amendment to their 3-1 loss to Belgium when Joe Morrell stood up for the injured Joe Allen, who replaced him in the early stages in Leuven.
Hal Robson-Kanu, Rabbi Matondo and Tyler Roberts were expected to be three after their excellent performances in Saturday’s friendly win over Mexico of replacements.
But the trio were sent back to their clubs on Monday after violating the Football Association of Wales protocols. Leeds striker Roberts had apologized for staying at the hotel later than the scheduled time.
Skipper Bale came in and said his confidence had increased after playing in as many games for Tottenham in February and early March had scored six goals.
Gareth Bale set up the winner for Daniel James.
The record scorer for Wales, who won his 90th international match, has not scored a goal for his country since the clash against Croatia in October 2019.
Wales was pushed back early and Jakub Jankto would have the match ball could possibly take home within 15 minutes if he had been more clinical.
Danny Ward comfortably raked a try in the third minute before Jankto hit the target twice after finding more space than the central defense gave him was able to give.
Wales has slowly settled into the competition and should have been ahead after 36 minutes through Bale.
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James led a quick counterattack and fed Neco Williams, whose cross from the left cleared Ondrej Celustka’s head.
Bale hit the ball on the volley from six yards, but he was too close to Vaclik, who reacted well to tip over. The Czechs blocked a ball attempt from the resulting corner and moved closer when Schick Ward tested.
James fell in the Czech penalty area just before the break, but Soucek appeared to be making contact with the ball.
The Czech Republic was reduced to 10 when Schick raised his hands to Roberts in a crowded penalty area and the defender fell facedown.
Wales switched formation, replacing defender Chris Mepham with striker Kieffer Moore, but the 10 -headed visitors were still threatening in the attack.
Joe Rodon blocks a shot for Wales late.
Joe Rodon produced an even finer block in the last few seconds when Wales started their World Cup qualifying campaign on the second attempt.
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