Wales beat Slovakia in long-awaited EURO debut
Wales beat Slovakia 2-1 in Bordeaux on Saturday as both teams took part in their first-ever game in the European Championship finals.
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Gareth Bale (who else!?) grabbed the opening goal as his superb free kick in the first half set Wales on their way in front of a huge following of Welsh fans in south west France.
Slovakia threatened occasionally through Marik Hamsik but substitute Ondrej Duda scored seconds after arriving on the pitch to make it 1-1.
Wales then grabbed a late winner through Hal Robson-Kanu as they sit on three points in Group B after their opening game of EURO 2016 and their first game in a major tournament since 1958.
The first big chance of the game arrived as Hamsik won the ball 30-yards out and drove towards the Welsh goal, gliding past four defenders before Ben Davies blocked heroically on the line.
In the 11th minute Wales went ahead as Bale sent a dipping free kick into the far corner which bamboozled Slovakian goalkeeper Matus Kozacik to send the Welsh fans wild. 1-0 and it just had to be Bale who scored seven of Wales 11 goals in qualifying and assisted on another two.
The rest of the first half played out evenly with Slovakia wanting a penalty for a handball against Ashley Williams, plus Wales wanted two PKs after Martin Skrtel appeared to elbow Jonny Williams in the face and also haul down James Chester in the box.
Aaron Ramsey sent in a tame effort on goal but other than that the game turned into a feisty midfield battle.
In the second half Wales started to grab a stranglehold on the game and Bale went close to grabbing his Wales’ second goal but his header was denied by Kozacik.
Duda then jumped off the bench and made it 1-1 as Robert Mak’s powerful run saw him pull the pull back to the penalty spot and Duda did the rest. 1-1.
Slovakia then pushed for the winner but substitute Robson-Kanu scored nine minutes from time to seal the 2-1 win for Chris Coleman’s side. Nemec’s late header came off the post with rookie goalkeeper Danny Ward beaten but the Welsh held on to secure a huge victory.
Next up for Wales is a huge rivalry clash with England on Thursday in Lens, while Slovakia face Russia on Wednesday.