11 October 2014 16:43
Gareth Bale has stressed the importance of a victory for Wales when they host Cyprus in a Euro 2016 qualifier on Monday.
Chris Coleman’s men currently sit top of Group B after following up a 2-1 win in Andorra last month with a goalless draw at home to Bosnia-Herzegovina on Friday.
The visit of Cyprus is a fixture Coleman will have pinpointed as a must-win clash before the qualifying campaign got under way, with Monday’s opponents among the weakest teams in a group that also contains Israel and Belgium.
If the spirited draw with Bosnia is anything to go by, Wales should be roared on by a decent crowd at Cardiff City Stadium.
Friday’s attendance of more than 30,000 represented a huge surge in interest on the part of the Welsh public, and Real Madrid forward Bale says the country’s supporters have a big part to play.
“We go into Cyprus full of confidence but knowing we need to focus and concentrate,” he said. “We need to get the three points.
“Hopefully we can get another big crowd here on Monday and do them proud and get three points.”
Cyprus kicked off their campaign with a surprise win over Bosnia, but were on the receiving end of a 2-1 result at home to Israel on Friday.
Wales have won three of their five previous meetings with Cyprus, who registered victories in the other two.
Despite the relatively tight head-to-head record between the sides, Wales – who have won by a two-goal margin in their only two home fixtures against Cyprus – currently hold a 56-place advantage in the FIFA rankings.
Jonathan Williams went down holding his knee shortly after the hour mark during the clash with Bosnia, but was able to play another 20 minutes before making way for George Williams.
Coleman – already without the likes of injured duo Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen – will be thankful he has no more injury concerns to contend with ahead of the second part of Wales’ qualifying double-header.