Wales leapfrogged Israel at the top of their Euro 2016 qualifying group as two goals from Gareth Bale inspired a hugely impressive win that leaves them well placed to reach next summer’s finals in France.
Manager Chris Coleman had described this match as Wales’ most important since the Euro 2004 play-off defeat by Russia in 2003.
And with three wins and two draws from their first five matches, this is Wales’ best start to a campaign since that ill-fated bid 12 years ago as they attempt to reach a first major finals since the 1958 World Cup.
Victory against an Israeli side who had won all three of their previous qualifiers must rank as the finest of Coleman’s three-year tenure.
The visitors had the better of the first half in Haifa and took a deserved lead as Aaron Ramsey headed in from Bale’s flick-on just before the break.
The Real Madrid star doubled their advantage with a superb, swerving free-kick from the edge of the area soon after the restart and, a minute later, Israel’s Eytan Tibi picked up a second booking for fouling Bale as Wales took control.
He then added a final gloss with a sweeping finish late on as Coleman’s side moved two points clear at the summit of Group B.
Wary of their in-form opponents and a hostile atmosphere at a packed Sammy Ofer Stadium, Coleman reverted to a 5-3-2 formation that allowed him to give Bale a roaming role in attack.