wales slovakia euro 2016.jpg
Hal Robson-Kanu of Wales celebrates after scoring the 2-1 lead during the UEFA EURO 2016 group B preliminary round match between Wales and Slovakia at Stade de Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France, 11 June 2016.

Substitute Hal Robson-Kanu's late goal gave Wales a historic 2-1 victory over Slovakia Saturday at Euro 2016.

In a battle of European debutants, Wales superstar Gareth Bale opened the scoring in the 10th minute. Slovakia equalised in the 61st minute through substitute Ondrej Duda.

But it was Wales reserve Robson-Kanu who provided the game winner in the 81st minute in the Group B encounter.

The victory was crucial for Wales, who still have to face England and Russia in Group B.

"It was like a home game for us. Our fans are the best in the world and we gave them a reason to celebrate," Bale said. "It's a memorable moment for our country and we will enjoy it."

Bale almost didn't have the chance to give Wales the lead as Wales defender Ben Davies was needed to clear a certain goal from Marek Hamsik after just three minutes.

Bale got his chance seven minutes later with a free kick from 30 yards out. The Real Madrid star lined a left-footer just over the wall which keeper Matus Kozacik mis-judged with a step to the left before watching it go in.

Bale scored seven of Wales' 11 goals in qualifying and the Champions League winner kept up the magic in Bordeux.

Wales were left appealing for a penalty in the 34th minute as Slovakia captain Martin Skrtel threw an elbow at Jonny Williams. But the referee only waved on play.

Wales started the better team in the second half and Bale had a chance to double the advantage 12 minutes after the re-start but Kozacik stopped his header.

After a lacklustre first 60 minutes save for Hamsik's early chance, Slovakia evened things in the 61st minute on a counter attack.

Robert Mak raced down the right wing and passed in to Duda, who took a couple steps left before striking back across his body with a left-footer to beat Wales keeper Danny Ward.

Wales were close to regaining the lead in the 73rd minute but Aaron Ramsey's header went over the bar.

Ramsey set up the game winner eight minutes later, running through the Slovakian defence and chipping over to Robson-Kanu, who didn't strike cleanly but got it past Kozacik.

Slovakia did not give up and nearly got another goal from a reserve but Adam Nemce's strike hit only the left post in the 86th minute.

"We conceded two goals and lost even though we were the better team. We had good chances but we were not able to use them," Skrtel said.

"We lost the game but the tournament is not over for us. We still have two games to go."

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