WALES 3 CYPRUS 1
By Paul Walker
at the Millennium Stadium
Wales restored some pride after their five-goal mauling against Slovakia. They were steered to three points by an inspired display from stand-in skipper Craig Bellamy, who scored his first goal for his country in 20 months.
Not far behind Liverpool striker Bellamy was Everton's Simon Davies, who relished the chance of match action after weeks on the fringes at his club.
West Bromwich Albion's Jason Koumas, playing against a country he is also qualified to play for, headed the first goal before Robert Earnshaw grabbed the second, then Bellamy lobbed a superb third in the second half.
Cyprus hit back through Yiannakis Okkas late on but after the horror of the defeat by Slovakia, this will give boss John Toshack respite from criticism.
Wales gave MK Dons defender Craig Morgan, aged 21, his full debut. The only other change from the side beaten 5-1 five days ago was the inclusion of Ipswich goalkeeper Lewis Price, who won his third cap.
Toshack kept faith with Norwich City's Earnshaw despite hauling him off at half-time on Saturday, and was rewarded with a fine poacher's goal from the ex-Albion man.
Wales almost went in front inside the first minute. Bellamy raced onto a pass and pushed the ball away from goalkeeper Michalis Morfis who felled him outside the box. Referee Jacek Granat amazingly waved play on.
Wales were quick and mobile with Bellamy using his pace on the left, but Cyprus had to be taken seriously and Okkas was unfortunate to see a shot deflect wide.
Wales produced some excellent one-touch play and Earnshaw saw an angled drive deflected over the bar after being played in by Koumas.
After 26 minutes, Earnshaw cut in from the left and curled a fine 25-yard shot which Morfis touched against a post. Davies then produced another fine run and cross and this time it created the breakthrough. He surged down the right and crossed to beyond the far post where Koumas met the ball with a firm downward header.
The ball bounced in front of Morfis who flapped and pushed it a yard over the line before it was hacked clear but referee Granat had no hesitation in awarding the goal.
Six minutes later, Carl Robinson put Bellamy away and he calmly waited for support before squaring the ball for Earnshaw to finish from six yards.
Within a minute of the break, Okkas had a close-range effort well saved by Price, the ball bouncing out to Stathis Aloneftis who missed from ten yards.
Davies then blocked a clearance and the ball broke for Earnshaw, ten yards out. It looked as though Loukas Louka pulled him down from behind, but referee Granat waved play on.
Wales, though, were still under pressure and Price saved well from a Michalis Konstantinou header before Lambros Lambrou fired wide.
Bellamy was rewarded for his running with his first Wales goal since Toshack's first match in February 2005. He took a fine through-ball from Davies and produced an instant chip from 18 yards which left Morfis stranded.
Joe Ledley came on for Koumas after 76 minutes and a minute later, Wolverhampton Wanderers' Rob Edwards took over from Richard Duffy.
Davies broke away on the right in the 80th minute and saw his shot touched away by the boot of Morfis.
Wales were guilty of showboating in the closing stages and were punished when Okkas got away on the right to chip Price after 83 minutes.