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Belarus v Wales - 2002 World Cup.
Belarus (1) 2 Wales (0) 1
Khatskevich 40 Speed 90
Belkevich 56  

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Match Report
Wales made a sorry start to their 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign. Both a 40th minute blunder by goalkeeper Paul Jones and Craig Bellamy being sent-off, contributing factors to the 2-1 defeat in Minsk. Not even a fine injury time header by Gary Speed could save Mark Hughes' side.

Wales welcomed back Paul Jones, Chris Coleman, Robbie Savage and Ryan Giggs from the team that lost in Portugal.

Too often in the game Wales gave away possession easily to their opponents, but did show some spirit and determination when down to 10 men, and pulled a goal back late on.

Key moments
First half
7 mins: Gary Speed fails to connect at the far post from a Ryan Giggs free-kick on the left.
13 mins: Belkevich fires a fierce 20-yard shot just over the bar.
14 mins: Andy Melville has to clear off the line after a poor Belkevich close-range effort.
21 mins: A Ryan Giggs run down left run causes problems in the Belarus defence. His cross is half-cleared to Gary Speed, whose shot is deflected wide for a corner.
40 mins: A left wing cross is dropped by Paul Jones to allow Khatskevich an easy header from six yards for the opening goal of the game.
Half time score Belarus..1 Wales..0
Second half
49 mins: Iwan Roberts heads a Ryan Giggs cross over from six yards out.
56 mins: Andy Melville is caught flat-footed in defence which allows Belkevich through he drills a low shot past Paul Jones to make it 2-0.
57 mins: A Robbie Savage left foot shot inside the box is brilliantly turned away by Tumilovich.
65 mins: Craig Bellamy is shown the red card.
76 mins: Paul Jones saves well from Rinadyuk.
90 mins: Gary Speed places a strong header into the bottom corner from Robbie Savage's cross.
Full-time score Belarus..2 Wales..1

Mark Hughes said he was pleased with the commitment of players and said: "I cannot fault my players for effort, especially when we played the last 25 minutes with 10 players". He emphasised that he is still optimistic and upbeat about Wales' chances of qualification and pointed out: "It is a setback losing the first game and we need to perform at a higher level then we did against Belarus. But it is far from over. Belarus are a very competent side and they will take points from other countries."

John Robinson has admitted Wales were below par against Belarus and said: "We did not play well and I don't know the reason for that, but we battled well and, if we had got to the dressing rooms at half-time 0-0, it could have been all so different".

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