Wales 1-0 Czech Republic: Daniel James heads in Gareth Bale’s cross to snatch a vital late winner against 10-men visitors after Conor Roberts had also seen red to kick-start their World Cup qualifying campaign
- Gareth Bale was denied from a matter of yards out just before the half-time break
- Patrik Schick saw red early in the second half for lashing out at Conor Roberts
- Wales were themselves reduced to 10 with Roberts going off for two yellows
- Daniel James scored late on to snatch a vital three points for Rob Page’s men
Daniel James gave Wales a huge early boost in their bid to qualify for their first World Cup since 1958 as his late header settled a bad-tempered clash with the Czech Republic.
After Czech forward Patrik Schick and Wales defender Connor Roberts had both been sent off, James guided in Gareth Bale’s brilliant cross to give Rob Page’s men a vital three points.
The Czechs, who included defender Ondrej Kudela in the starting XI, had set the tone for a fiery night by deciding not to take the knee, pointing instead to the UEFA ‘Respect’ logo which was emblazoned on their sleeves as their opponents all knelt.
Daniel James secured a vital win for Wales by heading in a winner with just nine minutes left
Manchester United winger James leaped impressively to thump a header beyond the keeper
Czech Republic were reduced to 10 men after Patrik Schick lashed out at Conor Roberts
WALES: Ward 6.5; Mepham 6 (Moore 57, 6), Rodon 7, J Lawrence 6.5; Roberts 6, Morrell 5.5, Ampadu 6, N Williams 6.5; Bale 6.5, Wilson 5.5, Jonathan Williams, 76, 6.5), James 7
Subs not used: Levitt, Johnson, Sheehan, Tom Lawrence, Norrington-Davies, Cabango, Hennessey, Adam Davies, Gunter
Scorers: James (81)
Sent off: Roberts (77)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Vaclik, Coufal (Vydra 87), Kudela (Barak 87), Celustka, Boril, Holes (Krmencik 53), Soucek, Provod, Darida, Jankto, Schick;
Subs not used: Pekhart, Zima, Pavlenka, Mandous, Pesek, Masopust, Pavelka, Kaderabek, Stronati
Sent of: Schick (48)
Booked: Zima, Jankto
Referee: Ovidiu Alin Hategan (Romania)
Slavia Prague’s Kudela was accused by Rangers player Glen Kamara of racial abuse during a Europa League tie at Ibrox this month. Slavia denied the ‘disgusting accusation’ of racism.
Over the weekend, Wales pair Rabbi Matondo and Ben Cabango were racially abused on social media. Separately, Matondo was sent home from the Dragons’ training camp along with Hal Robson-Kanu and Tyler Roberts for breaking team protocols.
The Czechs, who are in England’s Euro 2020 group, began brightly. Jakub Jankto showed clever movement early on only to shoot narrowly wide twice, but Wales missed the best chance of the half in the 36th minute.
Neco Williams cross was perfect for Bale but the captain mishit his close-range volley and Tomas Vaclik pushed it over. Bale has not scored for Wales since October 2019.
Then James demanded a penalty though replays showed Soucek made faint contact with the ball.
Wales were buoyed at the start of the second half when Schick was shown the red card for shoving Roberts in the face at a free-kick. The Swansea defender made the most of it but referee Ovidiu Hategan showed no hesitation.
The Czechs still looked dangerous and James Lawrence had to produce a superb sliding challenge to deny Lukas Provod after the winger had rounded Danny Ward.
At the other end, James’ cross-shot was parried by Vaclik and Bale’s follow-up was blocked. Provod was then furious not to be given a penalty when Lawrence barged him over.
Gareth Bale came agonisingly close to scoring but had his effort tipped over the crossbar
Wales keeper Danny Ward just did enough to stop Lukas Provod from scoring an opener
James had a penalty shout waved away when he went down in the box in the second half
Roberts was on thin ice after an earlier booking and received another yellow in the 77th minute when his swinging arm connected with Soucek’s cheek.
With both sides tiring, Wales struck the decisive blow when Bale found space on the left and sent over a glorious ball to the far post, where James was waiting to head it beyond Vaclik.
In stoppage time, Ondrej Celustka was denied an equaliser by Joe Rodon’s stunning block in the six-yard box – which the centre-back celebrated as though it were a goal for his own team. That is how much this win meant.
The visitors themselves then had a penalty denied when Provod went down in the area
Wales lost their numerical advantage when Conor Roberts was sent off for two yellow cards