Bellamy torments Slovakia
Striker on-song as Wales thrash Slovaks
Last Updated: 12/09/07 8:54pm
Bellamy: First-half brace
Craig Bellamy stole the show as Wales claimed a 5-2 success in Slovakia in qualifying for the European Championship.
The West Ham striker scored twice and played a part in the others as Wales got revenge for their 5-1 home defeat to Slovakia earlier in qualifying.
Slovakia captain Marek Mintal gave the home side the lead early on but Wales responded magnificently and were level midway through the first-half through Freddy Eastwood.
Bellamy added two goals before the break with superb finishes past Stefan Senecky.
Slovakia got back into the game when Mintal netted his second shortly after the restart but Jan Durica's own goal killed off the hosts and Simon Davies fired home a fifth before the end.
Former Blackburn defender Vratislav Gresko's cross helped Slovakia take a 10th-minute lead. The ball dropped to Joe Ledley, who was far too slow with his clearance, allowing Mintal the time to hook the ball past Wayne Hennessey.
Wales levelled 11 minutes later. Hennessey's long ball was played out to Ledley by Bellamy, and the Cardiff youngster atoned for his earlier mistake with a low cross that Eastwood stabbed home.
Bellamy was beginning to enjoy himself against slower defenders and in the 34th minute he struck with a cracker.
Eastwood's ball over the top was a decent pass, but the West Ham striker still had plenty to do. He set off on a high speed chase from half-way, caught and passed Durica before slamming a stunning 18 yard left-footed high shot past Senecky.
And it was Bellamy who struck again on 41 minutes with another outstanding finish, getting behind the defence again and lashing an acute angled drive off the underside of the bar.
Slovakia reduced the deficit to 3-2 in the 57th minute when Cech played in Mintal, who drilled a low drive past Hennessey.
Hennessey did not look too convincing when he spooned a long-range effort from Filip Holosko round a post soon after as the home side pushed for the equaliser.
Bellamy's attempts to relieve the pressure saw him hare away on 71 minutes and send in a cross-shot that hit the inside of the far post and came back into play.
Sealing the win
Bellamy scampered into the box and drilled a cross into the six-yard box on 74 minutes which a sliding Durica knocked into his own net.
A great night for Wales was capped in the last minute when Davies drilled in the fifth from close range.
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European Championship Qualifying
Wed 12th Sep - Group A
Kazakhstan2 - 2Belgium
Finland0 - 0Poland
Portugal1 - 1Serbia
Wed 12th Sep - Group E
Andorra0 - 6Croatia
Macedonia1 - 1Estonia
England3 - 0Russia
Wed 12th Sep - Group D
Slovakia2 - 5Wales
Cyprus3 - 0San Marino
Czech Rep1 - 0Rep Ireland
Wed 12th Sep - Group C
Norway2 - 2Greece
Turkey3 - 0Hungary
Bos & Herz0 - 1Moldova
Wed 12th Sep - Group B
Lithuania2 - 1Faroe Islands
Ukraine1 - 2Italy
France0 - 1Scotland
Wed 12th Sep - Group G
Bulgaria3 - 0Luxembourg
Slovenia1 - 0Belarus
Albania0 - 1Holland
Wed 12th Sep - Group F
Denmark4 - 0Liechtenstein
Iceland2 - 1N Ireland
Spain2 - 0Latvia
European Championship Qualifying Group A
European Championship Qualifying Group B
|6||Bosnia and Herzegovina||1||0|
European Championship Qualifying Group C
European Championship Qualifying Group D
|2||Republic of Ireland||1||3|
European Championship Qualifying Group E
European Championship Qualifying Group F
European Championship Qualifying Group G
European Championship Qualifying Group H
European Championship Qualifying Group I