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BBC Sport's Juliette Ferrington
"Wales have finally won their first international"
 real 14k

Wales boss Mark Hughes
"A lot of effort has gone into getting that result"
 real 14k

Wales goal-scorer John Hartson
"It was important we won today"
 real 14k

Wales goalkeeper Paul Jones
"I think we totally deserved the win"
 real 14k

Saturday, 6 October, 2001, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Hartson brings sweet relief
John Hartson celebrates scoring his crucial header
Wales 1-0 Belarus

John Hartson scored to give Wales the first win of their World Cup qualifying campaign and prevent the humiliation of a 13th game without victory.

Wales dominated, creating and wasting a hatful of chances and fully deserved their win, which ended Belarus' fleeting chance of reaching the play-offs.

The home side were boosted by the return of Mark Pembridge, Gary Speed - at an unfamiliar left-back spot - and John Robinson from injury.

The Millennium Stadium had no more than 10,000 inside, and the roof was shut - the first time any World Cup match has been played under cover.


Craig Bellamy was a constant threat to Belarus
Belarus were without their two best players - the Dynamo Kiev pair of Alexander Khatskevich and Valentin Balkevich after a row with the coach.

They could have been behind on five minutes when Craig Bellamy was put clean through by a long crossfield ball from Matthew Jones.

But the Newcastle youngster drove the ball straight at keeper Gennady Tumilovich's legs and the chance was lost.

Then on 14 minutes it was Simon Davies who missed a sitter. John Hartson's neat chip into the box put the Spurs player clear, but again the Dynamo Moscow keeper saved superbly with his legs.

Limped off

Two minutes later the gamble of risking Kit Symons failed.

The Fulham man had been doubtful after a hamstring pull earlier in the week, and he limped off to be replaced by Robert Page.

Boss Mark Hughes played an attacking midfield with both Jones and Davies in forward roles, and Pembridge sitting in front of the back four.

Bellamy missed another chance on 22 minutes when Davies' flick back into the box after a corner was poorly cleared.


Simon Davies made some surging runs from midfield
It left the Newcastle 21-year-old clear 15 yards out, but he skied it over.

Speed then sent a flying header from Pembridge's 24th-minute free-kick just over the bar.

It was 32 minutes before Belarus got in their first shot, Piotr Kackuro, once of Sheffield United, cut in from the right to fire a shot wide of Paul Jones' left-hand post.

Despite further good efforts from Bellamy and Davies, the visitors survived until half-time.

Wales's goal came on 47 minutes following a sweeping move sparked by Mark Delaney's break from defence.

Sitter

He sent Davies chasing down the right and the youngster out-paced Yakhimovich to fire in a fine cross.

Hartson, charging into the box, ducked to meet it and headed past Tumilovich.


It was a hard, physical contest
Belarus now had to come forward and showed some neat, controlled possession play to put Wales on the back foot.

But the Welsh missed a sitter on 63 minutes that would surely have settled things.

Hartson, Robinson, Davies and then Robinson again carved a huge gap down the right.

When the cross came in it was met by Davies, six yards out, but he managed to lift his shot over the bar.

Bellamy could then have finished it when he was sent charging down the left, but yet again when clear he allowed Tumilovich to save.

Paul Jones made a point-blank save from Kackuro on 81 minutes, and Wales were living on their nerves, having thrown away leads all through their Group Five campaign.

But this time they held on to record a deserved win - breaking their Millennium Stadium duck at the same time.


Wales: Paul Jones, Mark Delaney, Kit Symons (Robert Page 17), Andy Melville, Mark Pembridge, John Robinson, Matt Jones (Carl Robinson 65), Craig Bellamy, Simon Davies, Gary Speed, John Hartson (Iwan Roberts 90).

Belarus: Gennady Tumilovich, Erik Yakhimovich, Sergei Yaskovich, Alexander Lukhvich, Sergei Shtanyuk, Sergei Gurenko, Vasily Baranov (Alexander Gleb 67), Alexander Kulchiy, Vladimir Shuneiko, Roman Vasilyuk (Nikolai Ryndiuk 44), Pyotr Kachuro.

Referee: Pasquale Rodomonti (Italy).

Other top World Cup 2002 stories:

Links to more World Cup 2002 stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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