Azerbaijan 0-2 Wales: Euro 2020 qualifier – live!

Barry Glendenning on 16 November 2019

Match report: Azerbaijan 0-2 Wales

Kieffer Moore and Harry Wilson scored the goals, as Wales kept themselves in contention for automatic qualification.

Ryan Giggs speaks: “The performance could be better but the result was the main thing,” the Wales manager tells Sky Sports. “I’m pleased with a lot of what we did and depending on results elsewhere it sets us up nicely for Tuesday.”

On Moore’s performance: “He’s a threat and always a danger at set-piece,” he says. “I thought they might be weak at set-pieces and it’s nice to get the big man on the scoresheet again.”

He goes on to say it’s “hard to get too excited” because of Wales a favour, Tuesday’s night match will be very special.

Kieffer Moore speaks: “I mean it’s massive for us to get three points,” he says, in an interview with Sky Sports. “Roll on Tuesday. I’m really enjoying [international football] and long may it continue. We came here for the three points and now it’s all guns blazing for Tuesday. We’re very confident - we’ve got a game plan we want to stick to.”

A good win for Wales. They’ll be hoping Slovakia drop points against Croatia tonight, in which case a win against Hungary in Cardiff on Tuesday would guarantee them a place at Euro 2020. Even if things don’t go their way, they still have a guaranteed play-off place to fall back on in March, but let’s hope that won’t be required.

Full time: Azerbaijan 0-2 Wales

Peep! Peep! Peeeeeep! It’s all over in Baku, where Wales have beaten their hosts courtesy of first half goals by Kieffer Moore and Harry Wilson.

90+5 min: Khalilzade wins a free-kick for his side after being tackled from behind by Ben Davies. The ball’s crossed from deep by Garayev, but ends up going wide.

90+3 min: We’re in the third minute of five recommended and Azerbaijan win a free-kick just inside the Wales half. The ball is played wide after Matondo gives the ball away, but Garayev gives it straight back to Kieffer Moore.

Correction: Ethan Ampadu was replaced by Will Vaulks, not Sam Vokes. An easy mistake to make, but one for which yours truly humbly apologises nonetheless.

89 min: There are mass handbags down in one corner after a coming together between Connor Roberts and Ramazanov. Shahriyar Rahimov throws in his two cents, going forehead to forehead with the Wales right-back and gets booked for his troubles.

87 min: Wales substitution: Will Vokes on, Ethan Ampadu off, in a state of affairs that suggests Ryan Giggs has somebody reading this minute-by-minute report in the dugout and has asked them “What does Barry think we should do?”

85 min: There’s a break in play as Azerbaijan skipper Gara Garayev has a large blue bandage wrapped around his head, which I’m guessing he banged off somebody else’s head.

84 min: Azerbaijan substitution: Javid Huseynov on, Dimitrij Nazarov off.

82 min: Wales substitution: Dan James off, FC Schalke’s Rabbi Matondo on.

81 min: Joe Morrell gets booked for a tap on the ankles of Sheydayev. Free-kick for Azerbaijan in a good position about 30 yards from goal. Nazarov stands over the dead ball, before sending his effort over the bar.

79 min: Already booked, Ampadu continues to skate on thin metaphorical ice, clattering into an opponent from behind as he contests a header. If I was Ryan Giggs, I’d be thinking about taking him off before he gets sent off.

78 min: Ramsey plays the ball wide to Wilson, who sends in a cross. Moore wins the header, but is unable to steer it on target.

Aaron Ramsey takes on Azerbaijan’s Richard Almeida.
Aaron Ramsey takes on Azerbaijan’s Richard Almeida. Photograph: Aziz Karimov/Reuters

Updated

77 min: It’s all a bit flat in Baku, despite the best attempts of the Wales fans who are present to drum up a bit of atmosphere with a stirring rendition of their national anthem.

75 min: Ramil Sheydayev wins a corner for his team after finding a yard of space to unleash a shot in the Wales penalty area. Nothing comes from the set-piece.

74 min: Kieffer Moore, who’s really been putting himself about tonight, picks up a pass from James and pulls a low diagonal drive wide of the far upright.

73 min: Dan James makes a good run towards the edge of the Azerbaijan penalty area, but his pass into it is wayward and he fails to pick out a teammate.

70 min: Wales continue to keep their hosts under pressure. Roberts sends a cross in from the left towards Moore, whose flicked header fizzes wide of the back post.

67 min: Connor Roberts goes down in the Azerbaijan box under a challenge from Khalilzade and appeals in vain for a penalty. Seems fair enough to me. Moments later, Ethan Amapadu, on a yellow from the first half, looks nervously at the referee after being penalised for another foul. Herr Ayetkin’s cards stay in his pockets on this occasion.

64 min: Azerbaijan substitution: Abdoullayev off, Agabala Ramazanov on.

62 min: Kieffer Moore receives a pass from Ramsey and sends a low shot wide but it takes a deflection en route. A corner for Wales, which Azerbaijan clear.

61 min: Ramsey gets his first taste of action, down by the Azerbaijan byline and appeals for a free-kick after being brought down. The ref is not having it and awards a goal-kick to the home side.

59 min: Wales substitution: Gareth Bale makes way for Aaron Ramsey, who takes the armband from his friend and colleague and comes on for his first bit of action in this set of qualifiers.

58 min: Dan James plays the ball into the Azerbaijan penalty area, but his pass carries straight through to the goalkeeper.

56 min: A low, diagonal, left-footed drive from Harry Wilson is touched behind by Balayev at full stretch. It was a fine effort by Wilson, but an even better save by the goalkeeper, whose strong left hand prevented his side from going three down.

54 min: Ramil Sheydiyev gets in behind and Connor Roberts, but runs out of road before he can pull the ball back from the byline and into the Wales penalty area in a bid to tee up a teammate. Goal kick.

52 min: Nazarov and Ampadu both need medical attention after a midfield collision in which both players hurt themselves after a clash of knees. Both are passed fit to continue and play resumes.

50 min: Bale and James combine well down the left flank, before the latter sends a cross deep towards Moore. He fails to win the header, but will settle for the corner instead.

From the ensuing inswinger, Tom Lockyer stoops to head home from close range, but his “goal” won’t stand, as Ethan Ampadu is adjudged to have fouled goalkeeper Emil Balayev as he came for the ball.

49 min: Azerbaijan continue to put Wales under pressure during their best spell of the game so far. They win another corner, which is cleared by Moore before the ball is helped on its way by Bale.

47 min: Another corner for Azerbaijan, which is taken short. Under a heavy press, they fail to get a cross into the Wales penalty area and the ball ends up at the feet of their goalkeeper Emil Balayev at the far end of the pitch.

Second half: Azerbaijan 0-2 Wales

46 min: Play resumes, with one change on the Azerbaijan team. Anton Krivotsyuk makes way for the more attack-minded Tamkin Khalilzade ... I think. Azerbaijan win an early corner, but the delivery is poor and over-hit. Goal kick for Wales.

Half-time: Azerbaijan 0-2 Wales

A good 45 minutes for Wales: Kieffer Moore opened the scoring with a back post header at a corner, before Harry Wilson doubled Wales’s lead in Baku when finding himself in the right place at the right time to capitalise after Dan James hit the woodwork with a fine shot. Wales are in the driving seat and it’s no more than they deserve.

45 min: Nazarov is lucky to avoid a second yellow for “Fernandinho-ing” Dan James in a bid to break up a Wales counter-attack.

44 min: Dan James has another shot at goal, but sends this one high and wide. Looking at replays of that Lockyer “handball”, I think Mr Nazarov might have had a point when he argued his side’s case for a penalty. There’s no VAR in operation during these Euro qualifiers, but I think if referee Deniz Aytekin had video assistance he might have changed his mind on that one.

43 min: Azerbaijan win another corner, which is cleared at the near post by Moore.

39 min: Led by Nazarov, Azerbaijan appeal for a penalty for hand-ball, when a shot from close range strikes the arm of Tom Lockyer. The ref agrees the player handled but explains he had no chance of getting his arm out of the way and books Nazarov for his troubles.

36 min: That was a splendid effort from Dan James, who cut inside and beat Balayev with a curling shot, only to be thwarted by the woodwork. Luckily for Wales, the ball bounced kindly for Wilson, whose task could not have been simpler.

Harry Wilson celebrates scoring the second.
Harry Wilson celebrates scoring the second. Photograph: Aziz Karimov/Reuters

Updated

GOAL! Azerbaijan 0-2 Wales (Wilson 34)

Wales double their lead! On the coutner-attack, Daniel James hits the woodwork while trying to rifle the ball into the top corner. With the goalkeeper beaten all ends up, the ball drops down and bounces up for Harry Wilson, who is on hand to nod home into the empty goal from a couple of yards out.

31 min: Wales blow a great chance to double their lead, with Balyev coming quickly out to save at the feet of Moore with his outstretched leg when the player found himself through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat after latching on to a brilliantly weighted pass into the penalty area from Dan James.

30 min: Free-kick for Wales about 35 metres from goal after Moore almost has the shirt ripped off his back. Wilson plays the ball to the far post, where Moore was in place to head across the face of goal. Azerbaijan clear.

28 min: Kieffer Moore heads straight at Balayev after great build-up play down the right flank by Gareth Bale, who picked out his team-mate with a right-footed cross from near the corner flag.

Gareth Bale takes on the Azerbaijan defenders.
Gareth Bale takes on the Azerbaijan defenders. Photograph: Aziz Karimov/Reuters

Updated

27 min: Wales win another corner and the ball is swung into the penalty area. Moore rises to get his head to the ball, but his looping header doesn’t trouble Balayev in the Azerbaijan goal.

25 min: Rahimov and Krivotsyuk combine down the left flank and send a cross into the Wales penalty area. Connor Roberts rises to head clear and the ball drops kindly for Garayev. Is shot from distance sails over the bar.

23 min: Ethan Ampadu shepherds the ball out of play under pressure from Shahriyar Rahimov after Azerbaijan get forward again. Goal-kick for Wales.

21 min: Ethan Ampadu wins the second ball and plays it into space down the right channel for Moore to chase. Azerbaijan clear, with Anton Krivotsyuk doing the leg-work.

20 min: Another cross into the Wales box from the right and this time it’s dealt with by Mepham, albeit unconvincingly. Wales have been sitting back since scoring and are allowing Azerbaijan to work their way into the game.

18 min: Connor Roberts steps up to leather a cross from the right up the pitch. It comes back his way and this time Ben Davies shepherds it out of play and Wales have a goal kick.

16 min: Wilson dribbles the ball towards the edge of the Azerbaijan penalty area, before playing the ball into the path of Bale, who had made a run. the home side clear.

14 min: Ethan Ampadu is booked for a late challenge on Gara Garayev, catching the Azrbaijan captain on the shin in the process.

12 min: Azerbaijan win their first corner of the game. It’s played short and eventually crossed into the Wales penalty area. Richard Almeida gets his head to the ball, but is unable to steer it goalwards.

11 min: The Wigan striker’s header took a deflection off the shoulder of an Azerbaijan defender on its way into the goal, but there’s no doubting who’ll be credited with the goal.

Moore celebrates with Ampadu.
Moore celebrates with Ampadu. Photograph: Bradley Coller/PA

Updated

GOAL! Azerbaijan 0-1 Wales (Moore 10)

Wales lead! From the corner, taken by Harry Wilson, Kieffer Moore rises highest to head home at the far post from a couple of yards out.

Kieffer Moore heads home at the far post.
Kieffer Moore heads home at the far post. Photograph: Aziz Karimov/Reuters

Updated

9 min: Joe Morrell brings a smart save out of Balayev with a good strike from distance. Corner for Wales ...

7 min: Gareth Bale sends a cross into the Azerbaijan penalty area, looking for Kieffer Moore. The defensive header from Bahlul Mustafazade is poor and the ball breaks to Harry Wilson. He takes too many touches before shooting. Azerbaijan goalkeeper Emil Balayev dives to save his shot, which was going wide anyway.

Updated

6 min: Chris Mepham tries to release Ben Davies up the left flank, but the full-back is unable to reach the ball. Moments later, Mepham concedes a free-kick just for a late tackle. His inclusion tonight at the expense of Ashley Williams is possibly the controversial selection by Ryan Giggs. Mepham is not playing for Bournemouth at the moment, while Williams is a regular in the Bristol City ranks.

4 min: On his competitive debut for his country, Joe Morrell appeals for a free-kick on the edge of the Azerbaijan penalty area after being barged over by Nazarov. None is forthcoming.

3 min: Wayne Hennessey gets his first touch of the evening in the Welsh goal. He controls a back-pass and hoofs the ball far up the pitch.

1 min: Wales play keep-ball inside the Azerbaijan half, probing for an opening. An early cross into the penalty area from Dan James is headed clear by Dimitrij Nazarov.

Azerbaijan v Wales is go ...

1 min: Azerbaijan get the ball rolling in Baku and Wales immediately win possession and go on the attack. They win an early throw-in, deep in Azerbaijan territory.

Not long now: The players line up in the tunnel and make their way out on to the pitch in the 11,000 capacity Bakcell Arena. The players of Azerbaijan wear blue shirts, blue shorts and blue socks. Their visitors, led out by Gareth Bale, wear red shirts, red shorts and red socks. The stadium is far from full, but there are a hardy band of travelling Welshman occupying one section. We’re a couple of national anthems and a coin-toss away from kick-off ...

Azerbaijan v Wales line-ups

Azerbaijan: Balayev, Pashaev, Mustafazade, Badavi Huseynov, Krivotsyuk, Abdullayev, Nazarov, Garayev, Richard, Rahimov, Sheydayev.

Subs: Sahriyar Aliyev, Renat Dadashov, Isgenderli, Cavid Huseynov, Dzhenetov, Abbas Huseynov, Mahmudov, Ramazanov, Khalilzade, Agayev, Camalov.

Wales: Hennessey, Connor Roberts, Lockyer, Mepham, Ben Davies, Wilson, Ampadu, Morrell, James, Bale, Moore.

Subs: Levitt, King, Matondo, Vokes, Ramsey, Tyler Roberts, Vaulks, Smith, Adam Davies, Williams, Gunter, Jamie Lawrence.

Latest team news

Gareth Bale will captain Wales this evening, despite not having played for over a month because of a calf problem. Aaron Ramsey, yet to play in Euro 2020 qualifying, will have to wait a little longer to make his bow after being named on the bench. Ryan Giggs makes three changes from the side that drew with Croatia last month, with Chris Mepham, Joe Morrell and Harry Wilson all coming in.

Deniz Aytekin
German referee Deniz Aytekin is in charge of maintaining order during tonight’s match. Photograph: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

Team news

The good news for Wales is that Aaron Ramsey is finally available for selection, having not played a single minute in this qualifying campaign. Gareth Bale is also in the Wales camp, but there are questions over his fitness as he has not played for Real Madrid since his country’s 1-1 draw with Croatia last month.

In less good news for the Welsh, goalkeeper Danny Ward and defender Neil Taylor have been forced to withdraw from the squad, while Joe Allen is suspended. Derby County forward Tom Lawrence is out with illness, while midfielder Jonny Williams and centre-half Joe Rodon are also out.

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale at Wales training earlier this week. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images via Reuters

Ryan Giggs
Wales manager Ryan Giggs speaks to the press before training in Baku yesterday. Photograph: Aziz Karimov/Getty Images

Group E: Azerbaijan v Wales

The Bakcell Arena in Baku is the venue for this European qualifier between Wales and Azerbaijan. Anything less than a win will put an end to Welsh hopes of qualifying through the orthodox methods, but thanks to Sweden’s win over Romania last night, they are guaranteed a play-off place if required as the next best ranked team in League B of the Nations League.

Even with back to back wins against Azerbaijan today and Hungary on Tuesday, Wales still need Slovakia to drop points in one of their remaining qualifiers against Croatia and Azerbaijan. Kick-off in Baku is at 5pm (GMT), but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.

Group E
The current standings in Group E. Photograph: Guardian

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