Euro 2012 qual. - Wales shock Montenegro

Fri, 02 Sep 20:47:00 2011

Wales earned their first points of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with a shock 2-1 win over Group G rivals Montenegro at the Cardiff City Stadium.

2011 Wales Ramsey Bale - 0

A goal in each half from Steve Morison, netting his first in international competition, and skipper Aaron Ramsey were enough to halt a Welsh losing streak and dent their opponents’ hopes of automatic qualification for the finals in Poland and Ukraine.

And although Stevan Jovetic’s strike 20 minutes from time led to a tense finale, Gary Speed’s men held on in what could be a turning point in Gary Speed's side's fortunes.

Bad news on the night came in the form of bookings for Craig Bellamy and David Vaughan, however, which means the duo will miss the all-British clash with England at Wembley on Tuesday.

It was the visitors - undefeated in competitive fixtures since a thumping 4-1 loss to Bulgaria two years ago - who started off the brightest, but were unable to send a single shot on target.

That remained the case for the entire first half, and it gave the home side, low on confidence after a run of poor results, the opportunity to grow into the game.

Joe Ledley made a half-hearted claim for a penalty on 19 minutes when he was knocked down inside the box, before the rebound was sent over the bar by Bellamy.

Ten minutes later and the triple threat of Bellamy, Morison and Gareth Bale proved too much for the visitors, moments after Bale had forced a brave stop by keeper Mladen Bozovic with a wicked cross off the outside of his boot.

Bellamy and David Vaughan teamed up on the left flank to allow the latter to power a low cross into the six yard box, and when Bozovic failed to get a decent enough hand to it, Morison pounced to open up his international account.

Within minutes of the restart, Bale almost made it two with a spectacular drive from distance that needed a smart tip over the bar from Bozovic.

The rampant Reds went close again five minutes from time when Bale’s corner was hooked back into the danger zone by Bellamy for Morison’s glancing header that forced a last-gasp clearance off the line from Elsad Zverotic.

The hosts showed no sign of letting up when they returned from the interval, and doubled their lead five minutes into the second half.

Bale brought down a raking ball from the back with the panache and confidence on display all game from the in-form young midfielder. His ball into the box for Ramsey was followed by the captain’s assured finish that looked all too simple.

It was at this point that the away side finally began to look like they wanted something from the match, though Ledley really should have made it three on 55 with a marvellous run to beat the trap and latch onto Bale’s delivery, only for his first touch to let him down.

Simon Vukevic had a good chance blocked on 67 minutes, but the visiting goal was only delayed by a matter of minutes.

It was superb passing play between Vukevic and sub Dejan Damjanovic that led to Jovetic majestically blasting home for 2-1, but despite some nervy moments late on, Wales survived to record a memorable win.

Montenegro, on the other hand, now find themselves three points behind group leaders England following the defeat to the group's bottom side.

Liam Happe / Eurosport

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