Bale pleased with Irish rout in Giggs' first home game

Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring their second goal against Ireland in their Uefa Nations League opener. The forward's strike from outside the box set Wales on the way to a 4-1 win.
Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring their second goal against Ireland in their Uefa Nations League opener. The forward's strike from outside the box set Wales on the way to a 4-1 win.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

CARDIFF • Wales had not beaten Ireland for 26 years and had scored only twice in their previous seven meetings, with their wounds still raw after the Irish denied the home team a place in the World Cup play-offs after a 1-0 victory last October.

But the Wales sides then were missing Gareth Bale after an injury-enforced absence.

On Thursday, the Welsh Dragons again showed that with the forward, they are an entirely different proposition for any team after blowing Ireland away 4-1 in their Uefa Nations League opener.

"We had to put in a good performance in the first home game under the new regime," Bale, the Real Madrid man, told Sky Sports. "We wanted to show what we were capable of and make a statement.

"We're looking to win every game and win the group.

"There's a lot to improve on but there's a lot to enjoy."

The Irish hoodoo was put to rest during a spectacular opening 45 minutes at a rocking Cardiff City Stadium.

Tom Lawrence and Aaron Ramsey scored either side of a long-range curling strike from Bale, as Wales manager Ryan Giggs enjoyed a memorable first home match in charge.

Connor Roberts made it 4-0 soon after the break and even Ireland's consolation by Shaun Williams was drowned out by a chorus of Welsh anthems echoing around the stadium.

A resurgent Wales have now scored 10 times following Giggs' first game in charge - a 6-0 friendly win over China in March.

Wales, who are in League B in the new competition, which largely replaces friendlies and offers a potential route to the 2020 European Championship, will face a sterner test tomorrow when they play Denmark away in Group B4.

But they will go there in high spirits, with Giggs having put his dynamic stamp on a side blending experience with exciting young talents, such as 17-year-old Chelsea centre-back Ethan Ampadu and 21-year-old Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks.

"The lads were magnificent, some brilliant goals and great football," said Giggs, who played 64 times for Wales, in his post-match interview.

"I can't be much happier."

Impressive as Wales were, Ireland were awful and it made for difficult viewing for manager Martin O'Neill, who admitted his team were "decimated" by injuries to James McClean and Shane Long.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2018, with the headline 'Bale pleased with Irish rout in Giggs' first home game'. Print Edition | Subscribe