Cyprus Mail

Cyprus slump to second straight defeat against ten-man Wales

Wales' Hal Robson-Kanu celebrates his goal against Cyprus

By Andreas Vou

CYPRUS slumped to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Wales on Monday night in Cardiff, their second loss in four days by the same scoreline.

An opening group game win away to Bosnia and Herzegovina had given Cyprus a real hope of achieving something special in this qualifying campaign. A defeat against Israel on Friday in Nicosia, however, meant that a win was of the upmost importance on their trip to the Wales.

Pambos Christodoulou’s side got off to a poor start as Wales took an early through David Cotterill. The winger’s cross caused confusion in the Cypriot back line and ended up in the corner of the net after 13 minutes.

Wales soon went 2-0 ahead with a rapid breakaway; Gareth Bale’s brilliant first-time flick played Hal Robson-Kanu through on goal, who finished neatly beyond Tasos Kissas.

The game looked beyond Cyprus’ reach but, on 36 minutes, they were back in it. In a very similar fashion to which Wales went 1-0 up, Vincent Laban’s inswinging cross from a free-kick caused a mix-up in the Welsh defence and went past the despairing Wayne Hennessey.

Cyprus’ chances increased just after the break as Andy King received a red card for a tackle from behind on Constantinos Makrides.

Wales sat back for the majority of the second period as Cyprus tried valiantly to grab an equaliser – APOEL winger Giorgos Efrem came closest to levelling the game but his two headed efforts sailed wide and high respectively as the home side held on for a narrow win.

The result leaves both sides as they began the evening, with Wales top of Group B and Cyprus in fourth position. Cyprus’ next international game is on November 16 at home to Andorra in what is a must-win game if the national team is to have any hope of making at least the play-offs.


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