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ON THE BRINK: Bale inspires Wales in their win over Turkey

 

A captain's performance from Gareth Bale saw Wales take a huge step towards the knockout stage of Euro 2020 by beating Turkey 2-0 in Baku.

Aaron Ramsey struck close to half-time – his 17th international goal – and Connor Roberts sewed up victory in the final seconds after Bale had missed a penalty.

The win takes Wales onto four points and leaves them in a healthy position heading into their final Group A fixture against Italy in Rome on Sunday.

No side failed to make the last 16 at Euro 2016 in France five years ago having accumulated four points.

A few hundred Wales fans were vastly outnumbered in the 69,870-capacity Olympic Stadium but the 'red wall' were given plenty to sing about at the full time whistle.

 

Story of the match

 

Bale started to the left of Kieffer Moore with Daniel James on the right of a three-man attack, although the pair soon switched flanks to leave Wales with a more familiar appearance.

Wales were almost ahead inside six minutes when Bale and Ramsey combined in what was to become a running theme of the first half.

Ramsey cut inside Caglar Soyuncu but his near-post shot was saved by the outstretched foot of goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir.

Turkey did not heed the warning and were punished three minutes before the break when Bale dropped deep again to find Ramsey and the Juventus man timed his run to perfection to beat Cakir with comfort.

Turkey upped the tempo after the break and Hakan Calhanoglu forced a first save from Danny Ward before Yilmaz volleyed over from inside the six-yard box.

Ramsey was denied doubling Wales’ lead by Cakir’s good glovework before a golden opportunity presented itself on the hour mark.

Bale was tripped by Zeki Celik just inside the area but the Real Madrid forward sent his spot-kick high over the crossbar.

Turkey pressed furiously in the closing stages and Ward denied Merih Demiral with a superb close-range save.

Bale made up for his penalty miss in stoppage time, cutting the ball back for Roberts to sweep home and surely send Wales into the last 16.


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