Wales 2-1 over Scotland after double
Single-handed turnaround bests Scotland 2-1 late in qualifier
Agence France-Presse in Cardiff
Wales manager Chris Coleman hailed Gareth Bale as a "different class" after his double strike clinched a dramatic late 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over Scotland.
Scotland led at the Cardiff City Stadium thanks to James Morrison's first-half goal only to see Tottenham Hotspur star Bale single-handedly mastermind a stunning turnaround.
Bale slotted home an 80th-minute penalty after he was felled in full flight by Shaun Maloney after another surge at the heart of the Scottish defence.
And with just two minutes remaining, Bale, the best player on the pitch by some distance, proved the difference when he fired home the winner with a sumptuous left-footed shot.
Coleman said: "Gareth was a different class. It was a massive performance, and not just for the two goals. He keeps producing world-class performances time and again and doing things that not many other players are capable of doing. He's only 23, so he has not even peaked yet.
"It didn't matter who we were playing, there isn't a fullback around who can handle him when he is in that sort of form."
Scotland's under-fire manager Craig Levein admits his team must win in Belgium on Tuesday night after missing the chance to move up to third in the group.
Levein was left angry after match officials judged Charlie Adam's cross had swung out of play and ruled out Stephen Fletcher's goal in the 74th minute that would have given Scotland a 2-0 lead.
"We feel aggrieved because the officials have made a serious error. With 10 minutes to go I couldn't see us losing the match. Getting a second goal was always going to be crucial and we had one ruled out," Levein said.
Belgium beat Serbia 3-0 to go joint top of the group.
Elsewhere, 2018 World Cup hosts Russia added zest to their hopes of making it to Brazil with a 1-0 win over a Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal in Moscow.
"Today I saw exactly that team which I saw in training over the last week," former England boss Fabio Capello said.
"My players came on to the pitch today filled with fighting spirit and gave 100 per cent of what they have for this win."
Sweden had to dig deep to prevent a major upset in Torshavn against the Faroe Islands, coming from behind to win 2-1 against a team 131 rungs below them in Fifa's world rankings.
The Netherlands topped group D on goal difference from Romania, 1-0 winners in Turkey, after their 3-0 defeat of Andorra.