Daniel James marked his first competitive start for Wales with his first international goal as Ryan Giggs’ side opened their Euro 2020 qualifying with victory.

Wales took the lead after just five minutes, when James rifled in from the edge of the box.

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It was a bright start for the Welshman, making his first start for the national side as Giggs’ team looked to attack from the off.

Wales' striker Gareth Bale celebrates on the pitch after the UEFA Euro 2020 Group E qualification football match between Wales and Slovakia at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff on March 24, 2019. - Wales won the game 1-0.

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They continued to press, and had Slovakia on the back foot for the first 45 minutes. The away side conceded three yellow cards before the whistle, as they tried to keep up.

In the second half, Wales tried to disrupt their opponents as Slovakia chased an equaliser, but for much of the period the home side continued to press for a second goal to settle the tie.

With time running out, Wales had Wayne Hennessey to thank for an outstanding save from a Michal Ďuriš header at close range.

Wales - now second in the group - next play Croatia in June, while Slovakia travel to Azerbaijan.

TALKING POINT

Can Wales qualify from here? They will have Aaron Ramsey for most of the remaining fixtures, you would imagine, but today was a performance of impressive organisation and resilience. There are enough poor teams to go after in the group to rival Croatia to top the standings.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Dan James (Wales): On a day when most people would have been looking to Gareth Bale to carry Wales, it was a man making his first competitive start who made the difference. A brilliant, early goal gave Wales the platform to hit Slovakia on the counter, and his pace kept the away side on the back post.

Ryan Giggs, Manager of Wales embraces Daniel James of Wales during the 2020 UEFA European Championships group E qualifying match between Wales and Slovakia at Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2019 in Cardiff, United Kingdom.

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PLAYER RATINGS

Wales: Hennessey 7, Mepham 7, Lawrence 7, Davies 6, C. Roberts 6, Allen 6, Smith 6, James 8, Brooks 7, Wilson 7, Bale 6. Subs: T. Roberts 7, Vaulks 6,

Slovakia: Dubravka 6, Pekarik 5, Vavro 5, Duda 6, Rusnak 6, Skriniar 6, Hancko 5, Hamsik 5, Kucka 5, Mak 6, Lobotka 5. Subs: Duris 6, Stoch 5, Safranko 6.

KEY EVENTS

5’ - GOAL! Wales 1-0 Slovakia. James scores - Brooks bursts down the right, comes inside and plays in a poor pass to nobody. James steals in to take possession, and in the D he takes a fraction of a second to line up a low shot past Dubravka.

21’ - BROOKS MISS - Kucka trips Wilson as he races towards goal, and concedes a free kick 40 yards out. It's worked to Davies on the left, he pulls it back for Brooks, standing at the near post, and he curls in a left-footed shot against the side netting.

39’ - BROOKS SHOT - James crosses in, the ball ricochets for Wilson and it bounces off him before he can shoot. The ball runs to Brooks on the right, he cuts on to his left foot after getting to the corner of the box, and he curls just past the post.

David Brooks of Wales (R) is fouled by David Hancko of Slovakia (L) during the UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier match between Wales and Slovakia at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2019 in Cardiff, Wales.

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53’ - DUBRAVKA SAVE - Bale hangs into the air to glance a header at goal that Dubravka has to leap to his right to pick out of the air.

54’ - HENNESSEY SAVE - Rusnak receives the ball in the box from a clever through ball, and Hennessey runs out to block the shot with his face, the ball hits the striker again, and then it runs wide of the near post.

82’ - HENNESSEY SAVE - Hennessey pulls off an outstanding save after a cross in from the right for Duris, pushing it away, it comes out to Hancko, and instead of forcing in the equaliser he collapses on the ball and Wales get it away.

KEY STAT

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