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FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

Tofik Bakhramov, Baku (ATT 26,728) 6th June 2009 - Kick off 16:00 Ref: M Strombergsson

Azerbaijan Azerbaijan vs Wales Wales

Azerbaijan 0

ft

Wales 1

Wales youngsters win in Baku

Young stars keep qualification hopes alive

By Carla Hilton.   Last Updated: 07/06/09 12:30am

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Edwards: Celebrates his goal

Edwards: Celebrates his goal

Wales' youngest squad ground out a 1-0 victory against Azerbaijan to keep their qualification hopes alive.

Albeit unlikely, John Toshack's side can still qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa after a determined performance from a string of inexperienced players.

Simon Church, on his debut start for Wales, put in a good performance, but it was 23-year-old David Edwards who stole the show.

The Wolves midfielder netted his second goal for Wales with a simple tap-in from a solid cross from Rob Earnshaw.

His goal just before half-time was enough to secure Wales' third win in Group 4 to keep their narrow hopes of qualification alive.

Support

There were only 79 Wales fans in this stadium and, having had their tickets given to them free by the FA of Wales, they must have loved every minute.

Reading forward Church made his full Wales debut as Toshack fielded another very young side.

Church had won his first cap last Friday as a late substitute in the friendly with Estonia and had impressed in training enough here to be on from the start this time.

Edwards replaced the injured Jack Collinson while Oldham full-back Neal Eardley came into defence and there was an ominous start for Wales when both their young midfielders Aaroon Ramsay and captain Joe Ledley were cut down from behind by bad tackles in the opening two minutes.

If they did not know beforehand they knew then that this was going to be a physical battle against a side determined to take advantage of the youth of their opponents.

Azerbaijan had plenty of the ball and were being roared on by a partisan crowd but at least Wales were being helped by the fact that the 90 degree temperatures they had experienced all week had been replaced by a cloudy windy night.

But there was no help from Swedish referee Markus Strombergsson who was very lenient with the Azeri players.

But slowly Wales were coming to terms with the occasion. And from one corner Ramsey saw a shot charged down and Craig Morgan's effort was blocked before being hacked clear.

Feisty

Not surprising considering the catalogue of fouls being committed by the Azeri players, the first indiscretion by a Wales man saw Morgan booked for pulling the shirt of Ramin.

Church was presented with a good opening when he latched onto a bad square pass from Vladimir Levin and set off towards goal only to be stopped by a desperate saving tackle from Rashad Sadigov.

Then goalkeeper Farhad Veliyev had to snatch the ball from Earnshaw's toes, with the little striker then seeing a downward header from a Ramsey corner blocked a foot from the line.

Earnshaw was involved again with brave running and a cross from the right when Wales took the lead three minutes from the break. Veliyev crunched the ball out, with it hitting Church and rebounding for Edwards to fire home.

Azerbaijan brought on Branimir Subasic for Ramin at the break and then Javid Huseynov for Nabiyev soon after the restart and the hosts were putting Wales under constant aerial pressure. Wayne Hennessey made a good save at his post to keep out a Subasic effort.

The pressure continued, and Hennessey was seeing plenty of action but the big Wolves keeper was up to the task, making a string of good saves.

The hard-working Earnshaw was replaced by Sam Vokes with Wales still battling hard to maintain their lead.

Hennessey saved well again after 76 minutes pushing Huseynov's header wide. Wales then sent on youngster Owain Tudur Jones for Church who had worked himself into the ground chasing and harassing.

Hennessey was booked for time wasting but Wales were hanging on and they fully deserved their victory after a performance that gives Toshack plenty to work with in the future.

AzerbaijanTeam StatisticsWales
0Goals1
01st Half Goals1
9Shots on Target1
4Shots off Target5
3Blocked Shots5
7Corners4
12Fouls11
2Offsides1
0Yellow Cards3
0Red Cards0
75.8Passing Success65.6
17Tackles21
82.4Tackles Success81
56.1Possession43.9
46.5Territorial Advantage53.5

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Matches

  • FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

    Sat 6th Jun - Group D
    • Azerbaijan
      0 - 1
      Wales
      bet
      TV
    • Finland
      2 - 1
      Liechtenstein
      bet
      TV
    Sat 6th Jun - Group F
    Sat 6th Jun - Group C
    • Slovakia
      7 - 0
      San Marino
      bet
      TV
    Sat 6th Jun - Group I
    Sat 6th Jun - Group H
    • Cyprus
      2 - 2
      Montenegro
      bet
      TV
    • Bulgaria
      1 - 1
      Rep Ireland
      bet
      TV
    Sat 6th Jun - Group A
    Sat 6th Jun - Group G

Tables

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Belgium 10 26
2 Croatia 10 17
3 Serbia 10 14
4 Scotland 10 11
5 Wales 10 10
6 Macedonia 10 7

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Italy 10 22
2 Denmark 10 16
3 Czech Republic 10 15
4 Bulgaria 10 13
5 Armenia 10 13
6 Malta 10 3

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Germany 10 28
2 Sweden 10 20
3 Austria 10 17
4 Republic of Ireland 10 14
5 Kazakhstan 10 5
6 Faroe Islands 10 1

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Netherlands 10 28
2 Romania 10 19
3 Hungary 10 17
4 Turkey 10 16
5 Estonia 10 7
6 Andorra 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Switzerland 10 24
2 Iceland 10 17
3 Slovenia 10 15
4 Norway 10 12
5 Albania 10 11
6 Cyprus 10 5

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Russia 10 22
2 Portugal 10 21
3 Israel 10 14
4 Azerbaijan 10 9
5 Northern Ireland 10 7
6 Luxembourg 10 6

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina 10 25
2 Greece 10 25
3 Slovakia 10 13
4 Lithuania 10 11
5 Latvia 10 8
6 Liechtenstein 10 2

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 England 10 22
2 Ukraine 10 21
3 Montenegro 10 15
4 Poland 10 13
5 Moldova 10 11
6 San Marino 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Spain 8 20
2 France 8 17
3 Finland 8 9
4 Georgia 8 5
5 Belarus 8 4

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