Wales forward Gareth Bale has urged his side to make more history after starting their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with an emphatic victory over Moldova at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Bale netted twice to move to second on the list of all-time Welsh goalscorers and just four behind Ian Rush, as he added to first-half strikes from Burnley striker Sam Vokes and Stoke midfielder Joe Allen.
Wales qualified for their first major tournament since 1958 in the summer and proceeded to reach the semi-finals where their Euro 2016 journey was brought to an end by eventual winners Portugal. Bale has demanded more of the same.
“We enjoyed the past but it’s history now and it’s time to make some more,” said Bale. “We’ve played teams like Moldova before where it’s very hard to break them down but I think we’re learning to cope with that kind of play against us a bit better now. We’re learning and growing as a team. It was an important win to get us off to a good start.”
Moldova had lost 14 of their previous 20 matches but proved no pushovers in the opening stages as Wales struggled to break them down. The deadlock was finally broken on 38 minutes when Vokes powered home a Bale cross.
The lead was doubled shortly before the break as Allen drilled a low shot beyond Moldova goalkeeper Ilie Cebanu to register his first international goal.
Bale then seized on a woeful backpass from Moldova’s Ion Jordan before calmly converting a last-gasp penalty after being felled in the box. The scoreline was Wales’s biggest winning margin in a competitive game since 2003.
Wales have not qualified for a World Cup in 60 years but immediately moved top of Group D from Austria, who beat Georgia 2-1.