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Archived News from March 2003

28th March 2003 22:59

Wales U21 1-0 Azerbaijan U21
BBC website
After failing to win for five-and-a-half years, Wales' Under-21 side recorded their second successive victory in the Euro 2004 Group Nine qualifier at Barry's Jenner Park.
Coventry's David Pipe grabbed the seventh-minute goal, a ferocious volley after James Collins had created havoc from an attacking free-kick.

Soon afterwards, Wales skipper Rhys Day and Fagan Shahbazov of Azerbaijan were dismissed after the Welshman reacted violently to a reckless, straight-arm challenge.

The sendings off disrupted the pattern of the game, but Wales were able to hold on and give the fans a rare home win - and the first back-to-back success for seven years.

Wales wasted a golden chance for a second four minutes from the break when Nabiev tripped Gareth Williams in the box. James Collins' penalty was saved to his left by Yusifov.

Azerbaijan's share of possession increased in the second half, but it was Wales who again came closest to scoring.

On 64 minutes Williams drilled a low shot at the near post and its power almost took the ball through Yusifov's hands, but the keeper just held on.

Wrexham youngster Paul Whitfield, making his debut for the side, made his first serious save for Wales on 83 minutes when he turned a low drive from Omarov round a post

A minute later he produced an even better stop to tip over from Zavr Hashimov and ensure Wales the three points.

Wales manager Jimmy Shoulder was pleased with his side's performance.

"Although it wasn't the most confident performance we never looked in trouble and it's a long time since we had back-to-back wins," he said.

"The double sending off was detrimental to the pattern of play, but they never really threatened us and I'm happy with the way we wrapped the game up.

"We will be going to Serbia & Montenegro with an Australian attitude rather than a British one - we'll be expecting to win."


Wales U21: Whitfield, Moss, Rees, Day, Price, Pipe, Tolley, Mumford, Vaughan, Gareth Williams, Collins.
Subs: Valentine, Brough, Matty Williams, Davies, Brown.

Azerbaijan U21: Yusifov, Haskimov, Abbasov, Allahverdiyev, Guliev, Isayev, Huseynov, Jamal Mammadov, Agarishiyev, Baghirov, Shahbazov.
Subs: Kariamy, Omarov, Amirjanovic, Nabiev, Mirzayev, Aleksandr Mammadov, Safarov.

Ref: Kovacic Drazenko (Croatia)

Att: 1,834


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