China v Wales – story of the match
Gareth Bale’s maiden international treble got Ryan Giggs off to a flying start as Wales manager.
Ryan Giggs enjoyed a dream start as Wales manager on a night when Gareth Bale became his country’s top goalscorer in a 6-0 win over China.
Wales comfortably booked their place in Monday’s China Cup final against the Czech Republic or Uruguay as Bale eclipsed Ian Rush’s 28-goal record for Wales.
Sam Vokes also scored twice and Harry Wilson – winning his second cap more than four years after becoming Wales’ youngest-ever player – was on target as China were thrashed in front of a noisy 36,000-plus crowd in Nanning.
Tweet of the match
Gutted to not be over there with the boys but what a result and what an achievement for these 2 players @chrisgunter2 and @garethbale11 congratulations on your records 👏👏👏 plenty more to come! pic.twitter.com/ApmaI3TMVw— Aaron Ramsey (@aaronramsey) March 22, 2018
Star man – Gareth Bale
The Real Madrid forward justified his celebrity status when he arrived in China with a superb all-round performance. The 28-year-old was at the heart of most Wales attacks in a standout display and proved his quality by scoring his first international hat-trick. Bale showed composure in front of goal to net two first-half strikes before slotting past Yan Junling for the third time after 62 minutes.
View from the sidelines
This was the first ever meeting between the two sides at the Guangxi Sports Center, in what was also Ryan Giggs’ first match at the helm for Wales. Marcello Lippi, who guided Italy to World Cup glory in 2006, has been in charge of the China national team since October 2016 following a highly successful two-and-a-half year spell at Guangzhou Evergrande where he won three league titles, one Chinese Cup crown and the AFC Champions League. In contrast, Giggs’ previous managerial experience was four matches in a caretaker role at Manchester United.
Moment of the match
Bale capped a wonderful performance by surpassing Rush as Wales’ all-time leading goalscorer with a hat-trick against their hosts. The gulf in quality was evident between the two sides and the forward moved one ahead of the former Liverpool striker when he completed his treble after racing on to a Joe Allen pass and firing past Yan for his 29th Wales goal. It was also the first hat-trick scored by a Wales player since Robert Earnshaw’s treble against Scotland in 2004.
Wales: Wayne Hennessey 6, Chris Gunter 6, Ashley Williams 6, James Chester 6, Ben Davies 7, Declan John 6, Andy King 7, Joe Allen 8, Harry Wilson 7, Gareth Bale 9, Sam Vokes 7. Substitutes: Ben Woodburn (for Bale, 63) 6, Tom Bradshaw (for Vokes, 63) 6, Lee Evans (for Allen, 63) 6, Chris Mepham (for Davies, 70) 6, Tom Lockyer (for Chester, 71) 6, Marley Watkins (for Wilson, 71) 6.
Who’s up next?
TBC v Wales (China Cup final, March 26)