Euro 2016 qualification - Week 1 roundup

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Gareth Bale was once again the hero for Wales as his late free-kick rescued all three points as they laboured to a 2-1 away win over Andorra in their first Euro 2016 qualifier.

Andorra fixture

The minnows took a shock lead against the Welsh, when they were given a penalty after Neil Taylor was alleged to have pulled down Ivan Lorenzo in the box, and Ildefons Lima
cooly slotted home from the spot to make it 1-0 , the first goal Andorra have scored in four years.

But Wales were able to rely on their talisman, and Bale, playing behind striker Simon Church, pulled the Dragons level when he headed past Ferran Pol from Spurs left back Ben Davies's inch-perfect cross.

And the comeback was complete ten minutes before time, when the Real Madrid superstar stepped up and flighted a 30-yard free-kick straight in the top corner. Bale was delighted, and a mini pitch invasion by a section of the Wales support meant that the winger even had to calm the supporters down.

Norway v Italy

Antonio Conte's first competitive game in charge of Italy was a successful one, as the Azzurri won 2-0 away against Norway in Oslo.

Newly capped Sassuolo striker Simone Zaza scored his first goal for Italy after 16 minutes, when a ball from left back Mattia De Sciglio was dummied by both Emannuele Giaccherini and Ciro Immobile. Zaza picked it up, worked some space and his shot cannoned off the standing leg of Norway defender Havard Nordtveit, and beat keeper Oerjan Hyland at his near post.

The lead was then doubled just after the hour mark. A well worked corner between Giacherrini, Alessandro Florenzi and substitute Manuel Pasquel saw Florenzi play the ball into Pasqual's path. The Fiorentina left back crossed and Juventus centre back Leonardo Bonucci smashed in a header at the back post to complete a 2-0 win.

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Czech Republic vs Netherlands

New Netherlands boss Guus Hiddink didn't have the luck of the former Juventus manager, as his side lost their opening Euro 2016 qualifier in the final minute to the Czech Republic 2-1 in Prague.

Boreck Dockal gave the Czechs a shock lead, after he sweetly struck a left foot shot from the edge of the box, and it whistled onto the inside of the post of Jasper Cillesen's goal from David Lafata's smart layoff.

But the Dutch replied ten minutes after the restart, when new Manchester United signing Daley Blind swung a great cross in from the left hand side, and Lazio centre back Stefan De Vrij bulleted a header past Petr Cech in the Czech net. 

The Czechs were not to be denied however, and their last minute winner was scored in comical fashion. Boreck Dockal worked space in behind Blind near the byline, and his cross met the head of Dutch right back Daryl Janmaat.

Janmaat's header back to Cillesen swerved out of reach of the Ajax keeper, hit the post and Czech winger Vaclav Pilar joyfully bundled in the rebound into an empty net from a yard out.

Croatia v Malta

Croatia enjoyed a perfect start to their qualifying campaign by beating ten man Malta in Zagreb. Maltese defender Steve Borg was sent off for an altercation with Atletico Madrid striker Mario Mandzukic, and the Vatreni took full advantage with Luka Modric's excellent 25-yard strike into the bottom corner, and Andrej Kramaric's excellent finish on his debut from Nikica Jelavic's lay off.

Bosnia shock

Bosnia and Herzegovina endured a shock defeat at home to Cyprus, as the Cypriots won 2-1 in Zenica. Stuttgart striker Vevad Ibsevic gave the Bosnians the lead, but Cyprus striker Dimitris Christofi scored twice to give the underdogs an unexpected three points.

Iceland v Turkey

Iceland enjoyed a 3-0 win over Turkey, with Bayer Leverkusen defender Omer Toprak given his marching orders for two bookings for the Turks. Swansea's Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson got him self on the scoresheet in Reykjavík.

Bulgaria vs Azerbaijan

Bulgaria got off to a great start by defeating Azerbaijan 2-1 away, with Ventsislav Hristov scoring the winner late on in Baku, whilst Kazakhstan and Latvia played out a goalless draw.

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