Wales maintained their 100% start to their EURO 2004 qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan in Baku.
Goals in each half from Gary Speed and John Hartson, were enough to secure three valuable points for Mark Hughes’ injuey-hit Welsh side, to leave them top of the group, with a maximum 9 points from their opening 3 matches.
Shorn of several key players including midfielders Robbie Savage and Mark Pembridge as well as the attacking threat of Craig Bellamy, Wales travelled to Azerbaijan looking to continue their impressive start to the qualifiers which had already seen them account for Finland and Italy.
Wales took the leadon 9 minutes when Azer goalkeeper Djakhangir Gasanzade produced a stuunning save from Ryan Giggs, but from the resulting Simon Davies corner, Gary Speed headed into the top corner.
Azerbaijan threatened sporadically but their efforts foundered on a well-organised Welsh defence.
Celtic striker Hartson, who had earlier been denied a goal when his shot cannoned back off the underside of the bar and away to safety, was to get his just reward midway through the second-half.
The burly forward was brought down on the edge of the area and was on hand to head Davies’ free-kick into the bottom corner.
At the other end, Walles keeper Mark Jones did well to deny Ismaylov thedying minutes, before the referee called time on another impressive performance by Wales.
They lie top of Group 9 with 9 points, 5 clear of Yugolavia and Italy.
Azerbbaijan 0-2 Wales
: Gary Speed (9) John Hartson (68)
Azerbaijan: Hasanzadekh,Neftaliyev, Kerimov (Mamedov 46), Akhmedov (Asadov 75), Imamaliyev, Yadullaev, Makhmud Gurbanov, Sadygov, Gurban Gurbanov (Ismaylov 62), Vasilyev, Aliyev.
Subs: Magomedov, Ruslan Musayev, Gambarov, Asadov, Farukh Ismaylov, Fizuli Mamedov, Azer Mamedov.
Wales: Jones, Delaney (Weston 71), Melville, Page, Barnard, Davies, Speed, Carl Robinson (Trollope 90), Giggs, Hartson, Earnshaw (Roberts 90).
Subs: Crossley, Evans, Thomas, Weston, Trollope, Williams, Roberts
Referee: Luc Huyghe (Belgium)