Wales clung on for a nerve-shredding win over Cyprus to remain top of their Euro 2016 qualifying group.
Wales appeared to be coasting as goals from David Cotterill and Hal Robson-Kanu – the latter a stylish team effort – gave them an early 2-0 lead.
But a goal from Vincent Laban and a red card for Wales midfielder Andy King gave Cyprus hope of claiming only their second victory in 16 matches.
A tactically disciplined display was enough, however, for a precious three points which gives Wales their best start to a qualifying campaign since 2002.
Wales made two change to the side that drew 0-0 with Bosnia-Hercegovina – Robson-Kanu replacing the injured Jonathan Williams and left-back Ben Davies making way for young Fulham winger George Williams – and the hosts were forced into another early alteration as Simon Church suffered a shoulder injury and had to be replaced by Cotterill.
And it was the substitute who gave Wales the lead as an inswinging cross from evaded its intended targets and bounced into the far corner.
While Cotterill’s opener was more than a touch fortuitous, Wales doubled their lead with a sumptuous team goal.
Gareth Bale’s delightful backheel set Robson-Kanu free for the Reading forward to slot the ball between the legs of Cyprus goalkeeper Tasos Kissas.
At this point Wales were attacking at will, with Bale, Cotterill, Robson-Kanu and Williams all benefitting from loose Cypriot defending.
But, against the run of play, the visitors clawed themselves back into the tie as Laban’s floated free-kick evaded Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and a handful of defenders on the line before nestling in the far corner.
The hosts’ slender advantage made for a nervy atmosphere at the Cardiff City Stadium, and the home crowd’s concerns grew when King was dismissed just two minutes after the restart for an ankle-high challenge on Cyprus captain Constantinos Makridis.
Having been in total command early in the game, Wales now faced the challenge of holding on to their lead with a man less for almost an entire half.
There were a couple of scares – George Efrem wasted Cyprus’s best chance as he headed over from close range – but Wales dug deep for a valuable victory which strengthens their grip on top spot in Group B.
More information: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/29501893