Gareth Bale provided the perfect riposte to Real Madrid fans who barracked him with a match-winning performance that pushed Wales one step closer to qualification for Euro 2016.

The former Tottenham favourite, who has struggled for consistency in La Liga this season, notched a brace and combined wonderfully with Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey as Chris Coleman's side secured a comfortable 3-0 victory over 10-man Israel in Haifa.

Ramsey gave Wales the lead on the stroke of half-time after profiting from a Bale flick-on to head in and the world's most expensive footballer gave a timely reminder of his own potency after the break by turning home a delightful free-kick before putting the result beyond any reasonable doubt with 13 minutes remaining by finishing off Ramsey's inviting pass.

Bale was surprisingly calm after the full-time whistle, insisting that he had nothing to prove to those who have questioned his abilities in recent weeks.

"I don't need to answer the critics," he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. "I know, and everyone around me knows, what I can do. There are ups and downs in football. You have to take it with a pinch of salt and all you can do is respond with your performances on the pitch, like that.

"I don't feel I need to prove anyone wrong or right, I just need to play my football. I love playing for Wales. It's a big honour and the most important thing is I focus on my football and I don't listen to anyone else. I'm just enjoying my football with the boys."

Elsewhere on a busy evening of qualifying action, Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini made it three goals in three games for club and country with two for Belgium in their 5-0 demolition of Cyprus.

Chelsea star Eden Hazard and Aston Villa forward Christian Benteke were also on target in Brussels and the victory ensures that the Red Devils keep up the pressure on Wales towards the summit of Group B.

Manchester City frontman Edin Dzeko notched a hat-trick for Bosnia and Herzegovina as they swept aside Andorra, while Bolton's Eidur Gudjohnsen scored for Iceland in their 3-0 victory over Kazakhstan in his first game for his country since opting to reverse his decision to retire from international football.

Italy, who face England in a friendly in Turin on Tuesday (31 March), were held 2-2 in Bulgaria and the Netherlands had Klass-Jan Huntelaar to thank for earning them a last-gasp 1-1 draw with Turkey in Amsterdam.

Real Madrid prodigy Martin Odegaard became the youngest player to start a European Championship qualifier at the tender age of 16 yet was unable to help Norway avoid a heavy 5-1 defeat to Croatia.

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic saw their lead at the top of Group A cut to just a point after a 1-1 draw with Latvia while Azerbaijan comfortably saw off Malta 2-0 in Baku.