All eyes were on Wales in the China Cup semi-final on Thursday for several different reasons.
It was Ryan Giggs’ debut as manager of the national side and many people were eager to see how the former Manchester United winger got on during his debut in the dugout. There was also a chance for Gareth Bale to really shine for Wales and to become their leading goal scorer if things went his way. As you can probably imagine, they did, to devastating effect.
It was a spectacular start for Ryan Giggs as Wales manager as his side went on to thump China 6-0. Bale, as you can imagine, was integral in the victory and went on to score a hat-trick with Sam Vokes grabbing a double and Harry Wilson the other goal scorer. The occasion was all about Bale though as he went on to create history by becoming Wales’ all time leading goal scorer, surpassing Ian Rush’s record.
When Bale arrived in China at Nanning Airport on Tuesday he had been mobbed by hordes of fans who have grown to love and idolise the Real Madrid and Wales superstar. Manager Ryan Giggs has spoken about how he was seen as a God in China and the adulation from the Chinese didn’t stop at the airport as they continued to show their love for the 28-year-old during the game too.
Both the home and away support cheered and applauded enthusiastically every time Bake was on the ball and each of his three goals was celebrated by everyone in the 60,000-seater Guangxi Sports Center stadium as they witnessed the former Spurs winger make history.
Bale’s first goal was one that many would describe as vintage Gareth Bale. He used his dazzling and powerful dribbling skills to get past two players and even though he was off balance, he still managed to find the top corner with a great curling effort. This happened just two minutes into the game and there was a sense there was a lot more to come from Bale and Wales.
The Real Madrid star then rolled in his second of the game less than twenty minutes and this brought him level with Wales legend Ian Rush in the goal scoring charts. Many people felt Bale could be withdrawn at halftime but with history to be made he appeared for the second half, and he completed his hat-trick on 62 minutes after picking the ball up in China’s penalty area before converting with a well-placed shot into the bottom corner.
It was Bale’s first ever international hat-trick and he rightly was awarded the man of the match award for his breath-taking display. It was also a superb night for manager Ryan Giggs as it was Wales’ biggest win since August 1996 when they beat San Marino by the same score line. It was a great start to Giggs’ reign and his appointment could prove to be an inspired one.