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Wales 2 (Fishlock 16, Plewa 84) Czech Republic 0
Wales claimed one of their best ever wins when beating the Czech Republic 2-0 in their World Cup qualifying group match at Llanelli.
The Welsh side put the crushing last minute defeat against Belgium from three days earlier firmly behind them and ran out fully deserved winners after an excellent team performance against a team 27 places higher in the FIFA World Rankings.
Adrian Tucker made one change to the starting line up from the Belgium game with Jessica Fishlock returning from injury in place of Michelle Green.
The early exchanges saw the Czechs have the greater of possession but without making an impression on the Welsh goal. The first opportunity of the match came at the other end in the tenth minute as Fishlock floated a free kick into the penalty area where Jayne Ludlow's header was saved by Marcela Zbofilova.
Another free kick in a similar position six minutes later led to Wales opening the scoring. This time, Fishlock planted the ball into the edge of the area where Zbofilova fumbled under pressure from Ludlow and fell over the line, taking the ball in with her.
It was the stroke of luck that Wales needed but they quickly found themselves under pressure as a long ball from Lucie Heroldova was laid off by Marketa Ringelova into the path of Pavlina Nepokojova who shot across the face of goal.
The Czech defence were looking all at sea when defending set pieces and another Fishlock free kick led to more problems, the ball was not cleared and Emma Jones brought out a save from Zbofilova.
The match was a fiercely competitive one with a number of heavy tackles from both sides and bad fouls, particularly on Ludlow and Fishlock, were punished with a string of yellow cards.
Wales took their lead into the break and continued to look strong during the early stages of the second half with Lauren Townsend in good form at left back.
Veronika Pincova headed wide from a Blanka Penickova free kick but it was a rare opportunity for the Czechs and Wales goalkeeper Rhian Nokes was not called upon to make a serious save.
Instead it was Wales who continued to dictate matters with Ludlow and Fishlock in outstanding form whilst the back four again stood firm. The introduction of pacey striker Emma Plewa as a substitute again gave them an outlet up front and they finished the match strongly.
Nicola Cousins headed just wide from a Gwennan Harries corner but Wales, who were playing with great composure and confidence, finally got their reward with six minutes left on the clock. Ludlow did well to win the ball and Plewa sped through on goal, where she rounded the oncoming Zbofilova before coolly tucking the ball into the empty net for her first international goal.
Wales could even have added to their lead, firstly Harries drilled a 25-yard free kick over the bar and then Fishlock produced a piece of trickery before releasing Harries down the right. Her cross picked out Loren Dykes in the centre but she lifted her shot over the bar from 15 yards out.
Overall it was a great night for Wales who ended their nine-match run of defeats in competitive matches in convincing style and they will approach the return match with the Czech Republic next month, together with their trip to Azerbaijan, in great confidence.
Wales: Rhian Nokes, Sally Wade, Lauren Townsend, Nicola Cousins, Emma Jones, Katie Daley, Loren Dykes (sub Michelle Green 90mins), Jayne Ludlow, Helen Lander (sub Emma Plewa 76mins), Gwennan Harries, Jessica Fishlock. Subs not used: Lauren Wells, Carla Parfitt, Kerrie Manley, Katie Williams, Cheryl Foster.
Czech Republic: Marcela Zbofilova, Petra Divisova, Petra Vystejnova, Veronika Pincova, Lucie Heroldova, Michaela Markova (sub Lucie Kladrubska 89mins), Blanka Penickova (sub Martina Danielova 78mins), Pavlina Nepokojova (sub Zdenka Skupinova 65mins), Marketa Ringelova, Irena Martinkova, Iva Mocova. Subs not used: Veronika Jurakova, Lucie Florkova, Paula Benyrova, Petra Tausova.
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