Wales 2-0 Hungary: Ramsey's double delight seals Giggs' Euro spot

By Sports Desk November 19, 2019

Aaron Ramsey was Wales' hero as Ryan Giggs' side secured qualification for Euro 2020 with a 2-0 home win over Hungary.

One of the stand-out performers in his country's surprise run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, Ramsey was making his first start of the current campaign following persisted fitness problems.

But the Juventus midfielder re-announced himself in style at a fervent Cardiff City Stadium, scoring a goal in each half as Wales deservedly claimed the win they needed to leapfrog Hungary and take the second automatic qualifying spot in Group E.

Gareth Bale, Daniel James and the goalscorer buzzed effectively behind imposing targetman Kieffer Moore throughout, although Giggs was also indebted to some first-half heroics from goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

Wales began confidently and, when Adam Lang made the mistake of showing Bale on to his left foot on the right flank, the Real Madrid star whipped in an inviting cross for Ramsey to gleefully nod home.

Another wonderful Bale delivery – this time right-footed – saw Moore head narrowly wide in the 29th minute.

Hennessy produced a remarkable double-save to thwart Dominik Szoboszlai and Roland Sallai at close quarters in the 34th minute and it would prove a pivotal moment.

Instead of chasing the game, Wales were able to resume in composed fashion after the break and they soon had breathing space.

Moore – a handful in the air throughout for the Hungary defence - knocked down Ben Davies' 47th-minute set-piece and Ramsey, left negligently unmarked for a man of his finishing capabilities, made no mistake.

Giggs' eye-catching attacking midfield trio started to run through their repertoire, with Bale fizzing a free-kick narrowly over before James cut in to curl a shot just beyond the top-right corner.

An awful challenge from Istvan Kovacs on fellow substitute Ethan Ampadu highlighted Hungary's simmering frustration, while Peter Gulacsi saved with his boot to deny Ramsey the match ball 15 minutes from time.

What does it mean? Back-to-back Euros for Wales

Although UEFA's expansion to a 24-team tournament has leant a helping hand, Wales' achievement in reaching consecutive European Championships is a significant one for a country whose previous major tournament was the 1958 World Cup. Giggs has remained committed to letting promising youthful players flourish alongside his established stars, despite a rocky start in the group, and deserves his share of credit.

Rambo draws first and last blood

Wales got themselves in position without Ramsey but there is no doubt they go up a level with the former Arsenal man in their line-up. Fitness permitting, no nation will relish facing Bale, James and Ramsey in tandem come June.

Lang error costly for Hungary

That said, there are better ways to combat Bale than ushering him on to his lethal left foot to set up the opener. Hungary's night might still have been one of savour but for Lang's lapse.

What's next

Hungary get another bite at qualification in March's play-offs – the dream of turning out in the finals at Budapest's Puskas Arena still alive. Bale and his team-mates can dream of another unlikely tilt at European glory.

Related items

  • Fred hit by object during Manchester derby as Kick It Out call for action over alleged racist abuse Fred hit by object during Manchester derby as Kick It Out call for action over alleged racist abuse

    Kick It Out have called for "swift action" after reports of alleged racial abuse during the Manchester derby, a match in which United midfielder Fred was hit by a projectile.

    A series of objects including lighters and a plastic bottle could be seen by the corner flag as United prepared to take a set-piece during the second half of Saturday's Premier League clash against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

    Fred was then struck by another object thrown from the crowd before play continued.

    Television replays of the incident also appeared to show a supporter making racial gestures in the direction of the Brazil international.

    Anti-racism and discrimination organisation Kick It Out later tweeted to confirm it would be speaking to both clubs over reports of alleged abuse at the game.

    “We have been inundated with reports of alleged racist abuse from a number of individuals during this evening’s Manchester derby,” Kick It Out said.

    “We will be contacting both clubs to offer our support and hope swift action is taken to identify the offenders.”

    The body’s head of development, Troy Townsend, added on his account: “The evidence is clear for all to see. Let's not make excuses again."

  • Flick annoyed by Bayern's lack of clinical edge Flick annoyed by Bayern's lack of clinical edge

    Hansi Flick blamed Bayern Munich's lack of clinical finishing for a 2-1 loss at Borussia Monchengladbach that left the Bundesliga champions seven points adrift of the summit.

    Bayern seemed to be bouncing back strongly from their home defeat to Bayer Leverkusen last time out, enjoying a dominant first half, with Ivan Perisic firing in the opener shortly after the restart.

    But they failed to get a crucial second and Gladbach, who only had one shot in the first 45 minutes, equalised when Ramy Bensebaini headed home Jonas Hofmann's corner.

    Bayern's inability to kill the game came back to haunt them at the death as substitute defender Javi Martinez needlessly brought down Marcus Thuram in the box.

    Martinez was shown a second yellow card and Bensebaini tucked home the penalty to keep Gladbach top of the table.

    "It is important that we play football well, on the one hand," interim head coach Flick said. "We did that in the first half and created a lot of chances. 

    "Of course it is annoying that we do not make the most of the possibilities, so we leave Gladbach in the game. 

    "This is a situation we would normally have had to close earlier. Just as it was against Leverkusen last week. The team has the quality to score goals. 

    "Unfortunately, we do not do it at the moment. In the end, it's just that the football is settled with goals."

    Flick added that Jerome Boateng had to be replaced by Martinez having struggled through the game due to an injury problem.

    Flick's opposite number Marco Rose has had a remarkable impact since taking charge of the Foals but he accepted Gladbach had to ride their luck to close out a sixth straight league win at home. 

    "We saw two different halves. In the first half we barely had possession," he said. 

    "There is always a difference between what you do against Bayern and how you implement it on the pitch. 

    "We continued to play for victory and that rewarded us with the penalty goal. In the end, it is certainly a lucky victory, but it helps us a lot in the development."

  • Montpellier 1-3 Paris Saint-Germain: Neymar inspires late comeback Montpellier 1-3 Paris Saint-Germain: Neymar inspires late comeback

    Neymar inspired a late Paris Saint-Germain comeback as the Ligue 1 leaders came from behind to defeat 10-man Montpellier 3-1 on Saturday.

    PSG had lost on two of their previous three league trips to Stade de la Mosson, drawing the other, and looked set for another difficult outing following a poor first half that saw them lose two starters to injury prior to Leandro Paredes' own goal.

    Montpellier beat PSG in April with a late turnaround but this time it was the visitors' turn to turn the tables in dramatic fashion.

    Neymar won a set-piece that saw Pedro Mendes sent off and then sent the resulting 25-yard free-kick into the top-right corner with 16 minutes remaining.

    Two minutes later, he set up Kylian Mbappe to finish impressively shortly before Mauro Icardi wrapped up the points to move PSG eight points clear of Marseille at the top.

    There was an ugly end to the game, though, as PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas appeared to be hit by a bottle thrown from a section of the home supporters.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.