By Paul Jones
Kieffer Moore insists Wales have got the winning habit after his goal made it three wins on the bounce for Wales and an unbeaten run of seven matches.
The Cardiff City new boy scored the only goal as Wales got their Nations League campaign off to a flying start with a 1-0 win over Finland in Helsinki.
It was achieved without Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and David Brooks – and with Gareth Bale playing for only one half – but with a youthful exuberance that 28-year-old Moore is happy to use as the wind beneath his wings.
Since arriving late to international football, the former Wigan striker – who moved to the Bluebirds this summer – has now managed three goals in six games.
All of them have come in successive away matches in Slovakia, Azerbaijan and now Finland and he becomes the first Welsh player to manage that hat-trick since Ramsey in 2013.
“Winning is a mindset and I don’t think we’re ever going to stray from that. We will do everything as a team we can to keep winning,” said Moore, who is already looking forward to backing up his efforts against Bulgaria in Cardiff on Sunday.
Kieffer Moore is fast becoming Wales’s go-to man in big moments under Ryan Giggs 🏴
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) September 4, 2020
“It’s a massive result. We are all at different stages of fitness and to get that win under our belt to go again on Sunday is massive for us and it’s only going to help us going forward.
“I’m loving my football. To get the three points, it’s always nice to get on the scoresheet. Those three points are going to be vital for us.”
Torquay-born Moore – who qualifies for Wales through his maternal grandfather – made his international debut in a September friendly against Belarus last year and then scored on his first competitive outing in Slovakia, a 1-1 draw in Euro 2020 qualifying.
He has quickly acquired cult-hero status among Wales fans and his latest goal in likely only to increase the volume of more choruses of “Feed Me Till I’m Kieffer Moore” when Welsh fans are finally allowed back into matches.
Moore revealed that his goal was reward for Welsh efforts on the training field that centred around trying to get the utmost from the pace of Daniel James.
The Manchester United player has been criticised by some for his recent lack of impact at Old Trafford, but back in a Wales shirt he looked sharp, eager and confident.
— Red Welsh FC (@RedWelshFC) September 3, 2020
Moore added: “We have been working on breaking fast and it was that kind of phase. DJ broke down the left, I’ve luckily found myself in the right position to tuck it away but he has done the hard work.”
Moore had harshly been denied a goal early in the game for a foul on Finnish defender Daniel O’Shaughnessy but was determined to gain his late reward.
“I’m just glad I kept going; I didn’t lose concentration, I knew I would get another chance and it was just about taking that chance when it came.”
Manager Ryan Giggs was pleased with Moore and his teammates after a result that immediately took Wales to the top of their group after Bulgaria were held at home, 1-1, by the Republic of Ireland.
Giggs said: “I thought it was a really gritty performance, not our usual flowing football we’re capable, but credit to Finland who made it difficult for us.
Kieffer Moore with the only goal of the night as Wales beat Finland 1-0 away from home.
The big Cardiff City striker is really proving to be such a key player on the international stage🔥
Kieffer Moore for Ballon d’Or anyone? It certainly has a ring to it👀@Cymru #NationsLeague pic.twitter.com/yuipDieKLA
— Ben Thomas (@Benfthomas_10) September 3, 2020
“We scored early on and had another chance, and had those gone in we might have gone on and played better football, but I think it’s the kind of game you learn from, but you’ll also take a lot of pluses.
“We dug out the result in the end, and I always say with a clean sheet you’ve always got chances with the players we’ve got.”
Markku Kanerva, Finland’s coach, said: “Neither team had many chances. Both teams defended well but unfortunately one lapse in our defence made the difference.
“There are disappointed players in the dressing room as we felt we could have got more out of this game.
“However, this was the first time we have played with this formation and we will see what it will be like on Sunday in Dublin.”