Wales 4 Azerbaijan 0

Saturday, 29 March 2003, 0:00
1 min read

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It was a dream start for Wales as they took the lead inside 30 seconds when Bellamy pounced after Azerbaijan were unable to clear a low Ryan Giggs cross. Gary Speed headed home the second five minutes before the break and three minutes later, John Hartson had time to bring the ball down before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the back of the net. Ryan Giggs added the fourth just after the break at which point Wales seemed content to sit back on what they had and also allowed Azerbaijan enough room to rattle Paul Jones’ goal.

With 12 points from 12 now in the group, Wales are clearly in pole position to reach the finals in Portugal next summer. With an enforced five month break before the next game away to Serbia-Montenegro they have to sit back and watch the results from elsewhere starting with the game between Italy and Finland tonight. A draw would see Wales top the group by a massive seven points and be just possibly two wins away from qualification whilst an Italy win would still see them five points clear.

Wales adapted themselves well today despite losing two influential players in Robbie Savage and Gary Speed during the first half. Replacements Carl Robinson and Paul Trollope although not quite as effective as the two they replaced played well and allowed Wales to continue to move forwards although they did this less after they went 4 goals clear.
Couple of disappointing things for me today. The number of people leaving early to avoid a rush and still a handful of people who fail to differentiate between a Wales game and a Cardiff City game. I do not mean the wearing of a Cardiff shirt or the displaying of a Cardiff flag but the calling of a ‘Jack B stard’ to John Hartson – are some people just brain dead. And also please tell me why certain souvenir stalls today saw it fit to sell Cardiff City merchandise?
All in all a satsifying afternoon’s work and whilst this is the easiest fixture of the group for us it is still one that has to be won and we managed that comfortably.

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