Bellamy inspires Wales win
Craig Bellamy and Joe Ledley inspired Wales to a comfortable 5-1 international friendly victory against Luxembourg.
By Razwan Mirza
Last Updated: 12/08/10 9:40am
Craig Bellamy and Joe Ledley inspired Wales to a comfortable 5-1 international friendly victory against Luxembourg at Parc-y-Scarlets in their final game before the Euro 2012 qualifiers.
Wales produced a spectacular second-half display to destroy the visitors with captain Bellamy putting the seal on an outstanding individual display with his country's fifth goal.
Bellamy's effort was followed by earlier efforts by David Cotterill, Andy King, Ashley Williams and a Joe Ledley penalty.
Luxembourg has stunned John Toshack's side with a stunning first-half goal from Zaire born striker Joel Kitenge, but they they were reduced to 10 men after 77 minutes when Mario Mutsch was sent off.
Manager Toshack though, will be the first to admit his team require an improvement to challenge group rivals England, Switzerland, Montenegro and Bulgaria.
Toshack saw several players withdraw from his original squad for the Luxembourg clash in Llanelli - including Gareth Bale, Sam Vokes and Ched Evans - but he will feel Wales can cause problems for their Euro qualifying opponents if the main players stay fit.
The first-half was a laboured and disjointed affair, yet once Wales got their passing game going and maintained a high tempo, they created numerous chances.
Luxembourg inevitably folded under such sustained pressure, and they played the final 13 minutes with 10 men after Mario Mutsch was dismissed for a second yellow card.
Bellamy and Steve Morison both looked to move the Luxembourg defence around early on, but the unheralded visitors kept their shape and Wales did not force a corner until the 15th minute.
Williams was then cautioned by Finnish referee Mattias Gestranius for a clumsy challenge, and for all their intent through Bellamy's attacking channel, Wales did little to excite a sparse crowd of just over 4,500.
Wales offered some encouragement when Bellamy and Cotterill sniffed out
half-chances in quick succession, and Luxembourg found themselves under mounting pressure.
The breakthrough arrived 10 minutes before half-time when Robert Earnshaw's ball across the box was sweetly met by an unmarked Cotterill, who gave Joubert no chance.
Bellamy demanded his team keep the pace going, yet it was Luxembourg who drew level in spectacular fashion.
Kitenge hammered a spectacular shot, with the aid of a slight deflection, high
into Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey's net, and there were plenty of furrowed Welsh brows as the teams trooped off at half-time.
Toshack made three interval changes, sending on Boaz Myhill for Hennessey,
replacing Earnshaw with King and giving Blackpool's David Vaughan an opportunity instead of Brian Stock.
And it had the desired effect as Wales regained the lead through a 48th-minute penalty. Bellamy was scythed down by Daniel Alves Da Mota - it earned the Luxembourg forward a yellow card - and Ledley tucked his spot kick neatly into the corner.
Wales appeared much more fluent and decisive in the final third, and that
quality was rewarded with a third goal after 55 minutes.
Bellamy again played a part, drilling in the corner that found an unmarked
King, whose header flew past Joubert for a 3-1 advantage. Wales continued to press, creating chances almost at will, but they could not add to their tally as the game moved into its final 20 minutes.
But when Luxembourg were reduced to 10 men after Mutsch received a second yellow card, Wales immediately made their one-man advantage count.
Toshack had grown increasingly frustrated with the visitors' heavy-duty
second-half tactics, and Mutsch's one foul too many left Luxembourg at sixes and sevens. Williams headed home goal number four, then Bellamy scored his 18th international goal, outstripping Luxembourg's defence and finishing superbly to end a satisfying night.