Wales 1-0 Latvia: Kieffer Moore’s first-half goal gives the hosts a narrow victory as Rob Page’s men continue their positive start to Euro 2024 qualifying – after an emotional farewell to Gareth Bale
With tears in his eyes, Gareth Bale said his farewell to a grateful stadium on Tuesday night. With a tentative step, Wells continued to progress into the dreaded new era without him.
It was not a convincing win and was also of limited value to any major referees, given Latvia’s position in the game. But for now, the Welshman are dealing with the retirement of their greatest stars by making solid progress in Group D.
Shortly before half-time, Kiefer Moore’s header got the job done and added to an even more impressive draw in Croatia at the weekend, with four points from two matches exceeding most expectations at this stage of their European Championship qualification bid.
It remains to be seen how successful they will be over the course of the campaign. Likewise, their skill at penetrating deep defenses, now that the Chief Locksmith has left.
On this occasion, it was a struggle. Rob Page’s side had about 75 percent of possession, only facing one decent chance per half, but they often lacked the finesse to squeeze through gaps in the Latvian defence.
Kiefer Moore (L) scored just before half-time to give Wales a 1-0 win over Latvia on Tuesday
Gareth Bale made an emotional speech to Welsh fans ahead of the Euro 2024 qualifiers
When they did, it was semi-promising, most notably when Harry Wilson struck an early volley against Pavels Steinbauers leg, and again when Aaron Ramsey headed a volley into Moore at the back post.
Unlike the winner soon after, the head was weak.
Other opportunities were mostly long-range drives that required no saves and the aerial scraps brought in by wide balls from Wilson and Dan James. Without Bill, the fear is that he will become a familiar frustration.
The risk was a reaction, but Latvians rarely looked good for trouble after one moment in the middle of the first half when loose defenses in the corner allowed Marquis Os to make a quick look on goal.
Bale took to the pitch at Cardiff City to say goodbye to the national team fans
Danny Ward made a save and from that point on until the goal, scoring via Moore’s header after an excellent cross from James, Wales were reasonably comfortable.
Neco Williams opened the second half with a 20-yard hairball that Steinbauers hit the crossbar, before worrying about the next section of play when Vladislav Gutkowskis made a fine save from Ward.
Ranked 133rd in the world, Latvia might not have been expected to get this close.
For Wales, Armenia is next and another opportunity for post-Bell momentum ahead of the more reliable measure of the conflict with Turkey.