Turkey 0-2 Wales: Last-16 spot at Euros all but sealed as Ramsey and Roberts strike

It was another of the heroes of 2016 that Aaron Ramsey made for when he scored the goal which will make Wales believe that they can rediscover the elixir of that extraordinary tournament.

He looked for Chris Gunter, his friend and best man, with whom he has shared the ups and downs of football. Both perhaps felt that what Wales achieved in France five years ago could not be repeated. 

Their embrace, just before half-time, at the dugouts which stand way behind the pitch here, suggested otherwise.

It was the spirit of 2016 that Wales discovered. Ramsey’s goal, on a night of nail-biting tension, was pivotal before Connor Roberts scored again at the death. But this victory was down to a fighting spirit, which prevailed to the last.

Connor Roberts put the final touches to a stunning Wales win with a last-gasp goal having been teed up in the final moments

Connor Roberts put the final touches to a stunning Wales win with a last-gasp goal having been teed up in the final moments

Connor Roberts put the final touches to a stunning Wales win with a last-gasp goal having been teed up in the final moments

Roberts surged away in celebration after Wales confirmed all three points at the death to all but seal a knockout stage spot

Roberts surged away in celebration after Wales confirmed all three points at the death to all but seal a knockout stage spot

Roberts surged away in celebration after Wales confirmed all three points at the death to all but seal a knockout stage spot

Gareth Bale punched the air in celebration after setting up the second goal with world class skill in a much improved display

Gareth Bale punched the air in celebration after setting up the second goal with world class skill in a much improved display

Gareth Bale punched the air in celebration after setting up the second goal with world class skill in a much improved display

Bale let out the emotion after realising Wales were on the brink of progressing at Euro 2020 as they built on an opening draw

Bale let out the emotion after realising Wales were on the brink of progressing at Euro 2020 as they built on an opening draw

Bale let out the emotion after realising Wales were on the brink of progressing at Euro 2020 as they built on an opening draw

The Wales squad were elated at the final whistle as Turkey players stood dejected having lost both of their group matches

The Wales squad were elated at the final whistle as Turkey players stood dejected having lost both of their group matches

The Wales squad were elated at the final whistle as Turkey players stood dejected having lost both of their group matches

It was a performance which told the tournament what a talent Tottenham’s Joe Rodon is, as he resisted everything that Turkey threw at him. Ben Davies was another giant. 

Joe Allen, who has not played club football since March, was almost as significant. Danny Ward produced another save of the highest order at the death. 

When Gareth Bale missed a penalty on the hour mark, it took huge effort to stomach the disappointment. Wales built again.

The city had been grid-locked by the presence of Turkey all day. Roads were closed from early morning in readiness for the 20-vehicle cavalcade of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan which swept up to the parliament building in the early afternoon heat. 

Earlier, Aaron Ramsey (right) had opened the scoring with neat control and a cool finish following a delightful pass by Bale

Earlier, Aaron Ramsey (right) had opened the scoring with neat control and a cool finish following a delightful pass by Bale

Earlier, Aaron Ramsey (right) had opened the scoring with neat control and a cool finish following a delightful pass by Bale

Bale played a sublime ball over the top to Ramsey and caught the Turkey defence off guard as Wales dominated early in Baku

Bale played a sublime ball over the top to Ramsey and caught the Turkey defence off guard as Wales dominated early in Baku

Bale played a sublime ball over the top to Ramsey and caught the Turkey defence off guard as Wales dominated early in Baku

The drum beat of the Turkey bands echoed through the subterranean section of the walkway which sweeps up to this stadium. And when the teams arrived, there were whistles for Wales and roars of enthusiasm for the Turks. Football as we once knew it was restored.

The boos were loudest for Bale. There was unrestrained delight when Çağlar Söyüncü intercepted the captain’s breakaway run midway through the first half.

But the sound and fury of the entire Turkish nation cannot affect the footballing intuition of Bale and Ramsey, the two players in this side who are on another cognitive level when at their best. Together they have scored 50 of the 72 goals that this Wales team have scored for the national team.

As the end of the first half approached, the two enormous moments had been the chances Bale provided that Ramsey spurned.

Played into the left side of the box by a pass Bale eased away with his left outstep, Ramsey shot wide of the near post when the far post seemed like the better option. Played into the right by another pass that bisected the defenders, Ramsey struggled to get it from under his feet and blasted over.

Bale won a penalty for his nation in the second half after drawing a foul on the edge of the box as Turkey struggled to contain

Bale won a penalty for his nation in the second half after drawing a foul on the edge of the box as Turkey struggled to contain

Bale won a penalty for his nation in the second half after drawing a foul on the edge of the box as Turkey struggled to contain

Yet Bale - usually so prolific from 12-yards - stepped up uncertainly and blazed the ball over much to Wales' frustration

Yet Bale - usually so prolific from 12-yards - stepped up uncertainly and blazed the ball over much to Wales' frustration

Yet Bale – usually so prolific from 12-yards – stepped up uncertainly and blazed the ball over much to Wales’ frustration

But the contribution of these two players by then suggested there would be more from them. When Bale broke the floundering defensive line once more, Ramsey escaped again to take it on his chest and clip it beyond the advancing Uğurcan Çakır on the half volley.

There were certainly dangers for Wales throughout. Their vulnerability to corners was unnerving. The combination between Burak Yilmaz and Cengiz Under, supplying him from the right, created several first half chances.

But this was an assured, more balanced performance. Allen, freed from the distractions of Xherdan Shaqiri which affected his contribution against Switzerland, set attacks running and helped protect the left side of the Wales defence. 

Rodon, on that side of central defence calmly protected the rearguard and supplied the 30-yard passes that Kieffer Moore took down and fed to runners. Bale and Daniel James flipped flanks, worrying the Turkish defence.

After half time, Turkey went to three at the back to deal with the calamities Wales were causing. Juventus centre-back Merih Demiral, dropped after a poor opening game, arrived for midfielder Okay Yokuslu. But Wales continued to dominate

Morrell played another ball into danger for Ramsey, who shot through players’ legs for Çakır to block with his knees.

Bale could only watch on as his effort soared over the bar and failed to increase Wales' margin but they rallied once more

Bale could only watch on as his effort soared over the bar and failed to increase Wales' margin but they rallied once more

Bale could only watch on as his effort soared over the bar and failed to increase Wales’ margin but they rallied once more

Kieffer Moore and Caglar Soyuncu were embroiled in a fierce battle all afternoon

Kieffer Moore and Caglar Soyuncu were embroiled in a fierce battle all afternoon

Kieffer Moore and Caglar Soyuncu were embroiled in a fierce battle all afternoon

When Bale missed a penalty on the hour mark, Wales still seemed a long way from the win. The decision was incontestable. 

Zeki Çelik clipped Bale as he ran at him. But just when Rob Page’s side seemed home, Bale stepped up and blasted the kick over. The stadium camera was still following him and his face was still haunted five minutes later

Wales’ second goal seemed to be Bale’s form of recompense. Taking a short corner, he ran down the by-line and fed Morrell who slid home. Bale barely seemed to celebrate. 

But the abiding image of the night belongs to the 80th minute, when substitute Mert Muldur was free in space and it seemed he might score. Ramsey ran 20 yards to make the recovering tackle.

Re-live how all the action unfolded in Baku, with Sportsmail’s DANNY GALLAGHER who provided live Euro 2020 coverage of Turkey vs Wales.

Link hienalouca.com

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