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James makes breakthrough as Wales' persistence pays dividends

Wales 1 Czech Republic 0


Daniel James scored the winner for Wales

Daniel James scored the winner for Wales


Daniel James scored the winner for Wales

Daniel James' late header gave Wales a 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory over the Czech Republic in a bad-tempered Cardiff affair.

Both sides were reduced to 10 men as Connor Roberts and Patrick Schick saw red in separate second-half incidents.

Schick was dismissed after tangling with Roberts three minutes after the restart, an incident which saw the Swansea wing-back booked.

Roberts collected his second caution 13 minutes from time after catching Tomas Soucek in the face during an aerial challenge, which the West Ham midfielder ensured caught the attention of referee Ovidiu Hategan.

Wales quickly recovered from that setback as Gareth Bale crossed from the left after 81 minutes, and James' downward header beat the despairing dive of Czech goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik for his fourth international goal.

The Dragons were seeking their first points in World Cup qualification after losing their Group E opener in Belgium.

The Czech Republic - 24 places lower than Wales in the Fifa world rankings at 42 - already had four points on the board after winning 6-2 in Estonia and drawing 1-1 at home to Belgium.

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Ondrej Kudela started for the visitors after his club had initially prevented him from making the trip to Wales.

Centre-back Kudela was accused of racially abusing Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara during a Europa League tie on March 18, and Slavia Prague had suggested the player's safety could not be guaranteed in the UK.

The Czech Republic were reduced to 10 men when Schick raised his hands to Roberts in a crowded penalty area and the defender fell to the ground.

Wales changed formation by replacing defender Chris Mepham with striker Kieffer Moore, but the 10-man visitors still carried menace in attack.

Lukas Provod rounded Ward and was only denied by a superb James Lawrence covering challenge. Joe Rodon produced an even finer block in the final seconds.

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