Gareth Bale scored twice as Wales beat Israel in Haifa on Saturday in Euro 2016 qualifying

Perhaps the greatest compliment that can be given to Wales is that this cauldron of noise, which at kick-off seemed so threatening, was reduced to a quiet hum after the 50th minute.

That was the moment when Gareth Bale reminded us why Real Madrid paid £86million for his signature, why the caustic treatment of his recent performances in Spain seems so odd.

Having drawn a foul from Eytan Tibi inches outside the box with his pace, he dispatched the ball into the net as simply as if from the penalty spot in any. His shot curled over the wall with surgical placement, leaving goalkeeper Ofir Marciano stock still. It was pure quality.

Gareth Bale scored twice as Wales beat Israel in Haifa on Saturday in Euro 2016 qualifying

Bale (second left) lashes in his second goal of the game for Wales against Israel
Bale (second left) lashes in his second goal of the game for Wales against Israel

Bale celebrates as his team moved to the top of Group B with victory in Haifa over Israel

Bale (centre) leads the celebrations after his second half free kick put Wales 2-0 up against rivals Israel

Bale (third right) uploaded a picture to Instagram afterwards with the caption ‘what a performance from the lads’

Israel (4-3-3): Marciano 6; Dgani 5.5, Ben Haim I 5.5, Tibi 3, Ben Harush 6; Yeini 5, Natcho 5, Refaelov 5; Ben Haim II 5 (Biton 60’ 5), Zahavi 6 (Sahar 71’ 5), Damari 4 (Hemed 44’ 5)

His rapturous celebration spoke of the goal’s personal significance and collective importance. He answered his critics without uttering a word and made certain a momentous victory in Welsh ambitions to reach Euro 2016.

It was his 15th goal in 49 caps for Wales, moving him level with John Charles in the all-time scorers chart. He went past the great man 13 minutes from the end to rubber stamp Wales’s ascension to top of Group B at the halfway stage on 11 points and within sight of a first major tournament since 1958.

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