Bale-ful Wales con­tinue Euro form

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

WALES man­ager Chris Cole­man backed Gareth Bale to break Ian Rush’s na­tional goal-scor­ing record af­ter his brace in­spired the Euro 2016 semi-fi­nal­ists to a 4-0 de­feat of Moldova.

Bale scored three times as Wales reached the last four at Euro 2016 and he struck twice in the Septem­ber 5 home win over Moldova to give Cole­man’s men a win­ning start in 2018 World Cup qual­i­fy­ing.

They were the Real Madrid star’s 23rd and 24th Wales goals and with Rush now just four goals above him, Cole­man be­lieves Bale could be his coun­try’s lead­ing scorer by the end of the qual­i­fiers.

“He will break it. If you look at his record in the last two years, you’d have to say he has ev­ery chance of do­ing it in this cam­paign,” Cole­man told re­porters at Cardiff City Sta­dium.

“Know­ing Balo, he may not even know about that. He just comes along and fits in with the fur­ni­ture, gets on with his job.

“He may know he’s four goals away. He won’t think, ‘I’ve got to beat him [Rush] this cam­paign.’

“He’ll just go and do what he does, but in my opin­ion there’s ev­ery chance he can do that in the next nine games.”

Bale, 27, top-scored for Wales with seven goals in qual­i­fy­ing for Euro 2016 and his last 20 in­ter­na­tional strikes have been scored in just 31 out­ings.

As in France, where Wales lost to even­tual cham­pi­ons Por­tu­gal, Bale op­er­ated in a roam­ing role be­hind a lone striker – in this case Sam Vokes – against Moldova.

He teed up Vokes for the open­ing goal in the 38th minute with a wicked cross from the right that the Burn­ley striker headed past goal­keeper Ilie Ce­banu.

Stoke City mid­fielder Joe Allen made it 2-0 with his first in­ter­na­tional goal be­fore Bale pounced on Ion Jar­dan’s loose pass to add a third early in the sec­ond pe­riod.

He com­pleted vic­tory with a stop­page-time penalty af­ter he had been bun­dled over in the box.

Eng­land man­ager Sam Al­lardyce raised eye­brows af­ter his side’s 1-0 win in Slo­vakia on Septem­ber 4 by say­ing he was too in­ex­pe­ri­enced in in­ter­na­tional foot­ball to tell his cap­tain Wayne Rooney where to play.

Cole­man grants Bale sim­i­lar free­dom, but when Wales are in de­fen­sive mode, he said the for­mer Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur flier must fol­low strict in­struc­tions.

“We start him in a po­si­tion and make sure he knows what for­ma­tion we’re play­ing and what the tac­ti­cal game-plan is,” said Cole­man, whose side visit Aus­tria in their next Group D game on Oc­to­ber 6.

“I can’t tie some­body down like him. Without the ball, he knows where he needs to be and he’s got a job. With it, then it’s game on, what­ever he sees, what­ever he wants to do.”

Moldova’s coach Igor Do­bro­vol­ski re­fused to take part in the Bale love-in and said Wales’ vic­tory was purely the re­sult of his play­ers’ “child­ish mis­takes”.

“We’ll con­tinue what we do,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll ruin the mood for some other teams.” –

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