Gareth who? Kieffer Moore strikes to prove there is life after Bale for Wales
Wales are in need of a new talisman these days and, while he will never provide the same thrills as Gareth Bale, Kieffer Moore seems as good a candidate as ever to fill that vacancy. The retired Bale was here to watch his old team and, sitting in the stands at the Cardiff City Stadium, he would have recognised the sight of Moore flying through the air to score.
The target man’s first-half header proved to be the decisive moment on the night, as Wales continued their European qualifying campaign with an important victory over Latvia. It was an occasion to say farewell to Bale, who delivered an emotional address before kick-off, and to herald the start of a new era in Welsh football.
Rob Page’s team want to show they can still thrive without their star man, and the likes of Moore and Aaron Ramsey want to prove they can carry the torch for the next few years. Brennan Johnson, unavailable here, is another who might go on to fill the void but on this occasion it was all about Moore, the big man who poses such a big threat at this level.
“We know the importance of Kieffer,” said Page, who revealed after the game that Bale had dinner with the team on Monday night. “The goal was excellent, and that was something we trained. We know we have goals in the team.”
The performance itself was hardly the most gripping, and the notoriously loud Welsh supporters were unusually quiet as a result. The three points were crucial, though, if Wales are to make it to Euro 2024, and Page’s players did what was asked of them. “Job done,” said Page.
With Bale departed from the footballing scene, the flourishes in the final third will have to come from elsewhere in this campaign. An unexpected source of inspiration in the weekend’s draw in Croatia was debutant Nathan Broadhead, and the feeling now is that the goals will have to be shared around this team.
Harry Wilson, Daniel James and Connor Roberts all caused problems for Latvia in the first half, while Neco Williams went close from range before Moore rose impressively to score before the break.
Latvia threatened in bursts but there was no doubt the better team won, and the scoreline would have been more favourable if visiting goalkeeper Pavels Steinbors had not tipped Williams’ shot onto the crossbar.