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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 November 2005, 20:58 GMT
Cyprus 1-0 Wales
Wales' David Vaughan (r) battles for possession with Michael Chrisostomos
A miserable performance by Wales saw them easily beaten 1-0 in their friendly against Cyprus.

Only debutant goalkeeper Lewis Price stopped the home side scoring more, while Wales created little themselves.

Price made a smart save early on from Constantinos Charalambidis and then kept out shots by Lambros Lambrou and Chrysis Michael in quick succession.

He was finally beaten by Michael's penalty after Danny Collins had fouled Constantinos Makrides in the area.

Wales were without three of their most creative players in Ryan Giggs, Jason Koumas and Simon Davies - and their absence in midfield was painfully clear.

While John Toshack's team were struggling to even string passes together, Cyprus were causing havoc with their pace and movement at the other end.

Only Price's brilliance stopped the home side opening the scoring in the first 10 minutes, as he made a superb stop to keep out a close-range volley from Charalambidis.

Soon after, John Hartson failed to clear a Cyprus corner and Lambrou fired in a powerful volley that Price again did well to beat away.

The young Ipswich keeper, 21, then had to react quickly to parry a Lambrou free-kick that fizzed through his wall, and somehow managed to keep out Michael's follow-up too. When the ball was headed back goalwards David Vaughan recovered to clear off the line.

Wales did sporadically threaten but their only dangerman was Craig Bellamy. His pace got him in some dangerous areas, but he was also too fast for his team-mates - and too often his crosses were wasted because of a lack of support.

It still looked like Wales would hang on at 0-0 until half-time, but Cyprus kept coming forward and their persistence paid off.

A rash challenge by Collins felled Makrides and Michael stepped up to coolly roll the ball into the corner.

Toshack bolstered his midfield at the break by bringing on Gavin Williams for Collins and although his new-look 4-4-2 formation did subdue Cyprus, it did not make Wales any more effective going forward.

The service to Bellamy and John Hartson dried up altogether and the game soon degenerated into a scrappy affair, fought out in the middle of the park.

Substitute Rob Earnshaw's introduction to form a three-pronged attack on 66 minutes drew cheers from the Welsh fans who made up the majority of the 1,000-strong crowd - but the popular striker barely got a sniff of the ball.

Instead it was Cyprus who ended the game with a flourish as they again began to open Wales up.

Price again was at his best to save two efforts by Ioannis Okkas and then pushed a Makrides shot over the bar.

There was still time for Earnshaw to send a shot flashing past the post before the end - but that was Wales' only effort on goal all game and a draw would have been far more than they deserved.


Cyprus: Morfis (Georgallides 71), Okkarides, Lambrou (Louka 79), Michael, Charalambidis, Elia (Theofilou 70), Garpozis, Krassas, Makrides, Okkas, Yiasoumi (Alecou 76).
Subs Not Used: Kythreotis, Charalambous, Maragos, Aloneftis, Alexandrou.

Goals: Michael 42 pen.

Wales: Price, Duffy (Edwards 76), Gabbidon, Page, Danny Collins (Williams 46), Ricketts (Roberts 82), Fletcher, Robinson, Vaughan (Earnshaw 66), Bellamy, Hartson.
Subs Not Used: Weston, Jones.

Booked: Fletcher.

Att: 1,000

Ref: H Jacov (Israel).




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