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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 21:01 GMT 22:01 UK
Wales 3-0 San Marino
Wales goalscorers Ryan Giggs and Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale celebrates with Ryan Giggs after scoring Wales' second
Wales eased to a Euro 2008 qualifying victory over San Marino in front of a sparse crowd at the Millennium Stadium.

Ryan Giggs settled any potential nerves as he put Wales ahead on three minutes from Jason Koumas' neat through ball.

Gareth Bale doubled the lead with a 20-yard curler, with Koumas hitting the bar just before half-time.

Koumas squeezed in a penalty after David Cotterill was fouled before Craig Bellamy wasted a rare clear second-half opening by slicing wide late on.

Wales manager John Toshack changed to a more attacking 4-3-1-2 formation as he went in search of goals against the Group D whipping boys.

Koumas returned to centre midfield after serving a one-match ban, and Jermaine Easter was handed his first Wales start as he partnered Craig Bellamy up front.

And Koumas took little time in showing what Wales had missed in Saturday's toothless defeat to the Republic of Ireland as he created the opening goal for Giggs after two-and-a-half minutes.

Simon Davies found the West Brom midfielder unmarked 30 yards out, his first-time ball released Giggs inside the penalty area and the captain slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

Giggs then almost embarrassed goalkeeper Aldo Junior Simoncini - one of only two full-time professionals in the San Marino team - with a lob from 40 yards.

The goalkeeper did well to back-track and get his fingertips to the ball, then excelled himself by getting up to block Bellamy's follow-up effort.

Wales begun to lay seize to the San Marino goal and it came as no surprise when Bale doubled the lead on 20 minutes with sublime left-footed curler from outside the penalty area.

Giggs was having a field day in a free-role behind the front two, creating a clear shooting chance for Simon Davies and then testing Simoncini himself with a powerful low shot.

But the Manchester United winger wasted a glorious chance to score just before half-time when he sent a right-foot lob over the bar from eight yards out.

Easter failed to appear after the break because of a knee injury, and his replacement, Cotterill, needed just 45 seconds to make an impact by firing the first goal-bound effort of the second half.

Wales continued to dominate without creating clear-cut opportunities, and they needed a fair slice of luck to score their third just after the hour.

Cotterill's neat turn enticed a rash challenge from San Marino defender Carlo Valentina, and the referee awarded a penalty despite the visitors' claims that the challenge was outside the area.

Koumas fluffed his attempted chip from the spot, allowing Simoncini to partially save, but the midfielder's blushes were spared as the ball trickled over the line.

James Collins then sent a powerful header past the post before Simoncini - who can look back with pride on his performance - added to his long list of saves by smartly denying Cotterill.

Bellamy should have brought a rather timid second-half to a close with Wales' fourth goal, but the Liverpool striker sliced rashly wide after beating the San Marino offside trap.


Wales: Coyne, Ricketts, Evans (Nyatanga 63), James Collins, Bale, Fletcher, Koumas, Simon Davies, Giggs (Parry 73), Bellamy, Easter (Cotterill 45).
Subs Not Used: Danny Collins, Duffy, Ledley, Ward.

Booked: Koumas, Fletcher.

Goals: Giggs 3, Bale 20, Koumas 63 pen.

San Marino: Simoncini, Carlo Valentini (Toccaceli 85), Andreini, Albani, Muccioli, Bacciocchi, Negri (Nanni 79), Domeniconi (Bugli 67), Marani, Selva, Gasperoni.
Subs Not Used: Federico Valentini, Bonini, Vannucci, Vitaioli.

Booked: Muccioli.

Att: 18,752

Ref: Ararat Tchagharyan (Armenia).



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