World Cup Qualifying - European - Group D
Moldova1R. of Ireland3

World Cup 2018 qualifying: Moldova 1-3 Republic of Ireland

James McClean celebrates as competitive debutant Calum O'Dowda also shows his delight
James McClean brought his international goals tally up to seven with his two strikes

The Republic of Ireland took advantage of Wales' slip-up earlier in the day as two James McClean goals helped them see off Moldova in the World Cup qualifier.

After the Welsh were held at home by Georgia, Shane Long's early goal gave the Irish the perfect start but Igor Bugaev levelled just before the break.

The Republic were rattled by the equaliser after Wes Hoolahan's artistry had helped them boss the first half.

But McClean's goals in the 69th and 75th minutes eased Irish nerves.

The visitors had appeared in complete control in Chisinau after Hoolahan's perfectly weighted pass was followed by a superb Long finish in the second minute as he ended an 18-game scoring drought for club and country.

But after not being threatened in the opening 44 minutes, Republic keeper Darren Randolph had to pick the ball out of his own net seconds before the interval as Bugaev produced a composed finish after outpacing a badly caught out Shane Duffy.

Relive all the action from Moldova v Rep of Ireland

The Republic endured a few nervous moments after the break but McClean stabbed home from close range before another clever piece of play from Hoolahan released captain Seamus Coleman to tee up the West Brom winger for another close-range finish.

The win moves the Republic two points ahead of Wales in Group D, although Serbia lead the table on goal difference after beating Austria 3-2 on Sunday.

Wes Hoolahan battles with Moldova's Gheorghe Andronic in Sunday's World Cup qualifier
Wes Hoolahan produced an inventive display for the Republic

Classy Hoolahan pulls strings for Republic

Hoolahan's invention was key to the Republic's win, the 34-year-old Norwich midfielder totally justifying his recall as he and Glenn Whelan replaced the concussed Robbie Brady and suspended Jeff Hendrick from Thursday's win over Georgia.

Hoolahan's gorgeous first-time pass which set up Long's early goal was his stand-out contribution but there were numerous occasions when his speed of thought created openings for Martin O'Neill's side.

While his attacking instincts did result in him taking a few wrong options, Hoolahan's impressive evening was summed up by his delightful nutmeg on Alexandru Dedov which allowed Coleman to square for McClean's clinching third goal.

Once again, Hoolahan's display will leave many Republic fans wondering why he has only accumulated 36 caps in a career which saw him make his first competitive start at the age of 31.

Republic hold nerve after wobble

Anything other than a victory over a Moldovan side that lost at home to Liechtenstein in the Euro 2016 qualifiers would have been a big setback for O'Neill's side.

Wales' surprise home draw against Georgia earlier on Sunday suddenly made the Republic's laboured home victory over the same opposition on Thursday look a good result but failing to get the job done in Chisinau would have undone that good work.

Blackburn defender Duffy's poor positioning for Bugaev's sucker punch equaliser as he was caught out by Alexandru Gatcan's harmless looking ball out of defence will be a concern for O'Neill.

Buoyed by the equaliser, Moldova looked dangerous in the 10 minutes following the break before the rattled Irish regrouped as McClean stabbed them back into the lead after James McCarthy's scuffed shot had rebounded into his path off Jonathan Walters.

By that stage, Long was off the field because of injury which led O'Neill to hand a first competitive appearance to Bristol City forward Callum O'Dowda.

After McClean's clinching goal, tempers flared in the closing stages with Walters claiming that he had received a studs-up challenge to his midriff and manager O'Neill raced on to the field to calm the Stoke forward and the fiery McClean.

Martin O'Neill attempts to calm Jonathan Walters after some vigorous Moldovan challenges
Martin O'Neill came on the field to calm Jonathan Walters as tempers flared late on

What they said

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill: "We played excellently in the first half. We should have maybe been two or three in front. Then the goal knocked us back for a while.

"But we came around in the second half. We defended strongly. We created some chances and won the game and it was a big win for us.

"It's great to win away from home. I thought we played with a bit of panache."

What's next?

The Republic's next Group D qualifier is away to Austria on Saturday, 12 November.

Line-ups

Moldova

  • 12Calancea
  • 14Bordian
  • 15Posmac
  • 2ArmasSubstituted forGolovatencoat 36'minutes
  • 16Bolohan
  • 7CojocariBooked at 80mins
  • 22ZasavitchiSubstituted forCebotaruat 61'minutes
  • 8GatcanBooked at 90mins
  • 17AndronicSubstituted forSidorencoat 83'minutes
  • 21BugaevBooked at 88mins
  • 10DedovBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 1Cebanu
  • 3Golovatenco
  • 4Carp
  • 5Racu
  • 6Epureanu
  • 9Cebotaru
  • 11Ginsari
  • 13Antoniuc
  • 18Ivanov
  • 19Mihaliov
  • 20Sidorenco
  • 23Namasco

R. of Ireland

  • 23Randolph
  • 2ColemanBooked at 50mins
  • 7Duffy
  • 3Clark
  • 17Ward
  • 8McCarthySubstituted forMeylerat 81'minutes
  • 6Whelan
  • 19WaltersBooked at 90mins
  • 14HoolahanSubstituted forO'Kaneat 86'minutes
  • 11McClean
  • 9LongSubstituted forO'Dowdaat 63'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Lawlor
  • 4O'Shea
  • 5Keogh
  • 10O'Dowda
  • 12O'Kane
  • 13Rooney
  • 15Christie
  • 16Rogers
  • 18Meyler
  • 20McShane
  • 21Hayes
  • 22Pearce
Referee:
Jakob Kehlet
Attendance:
6,089

Match Stats

Home TeamMoldovaAway TeamR. of Ireland
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home7
Away16
Shots on Target
Home2
Away7
Corners
Home4
Away1
Fouls
Home21
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Moldova 1, Republic of Ireland 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Moldova 1, Republic of Ireland 3.

Foul by Aleksandru Gatcan (Moldova).

Callum O'Dowda (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Moldova. Conceded by Glenn Whelan.

Corner, Moldova. Conceded by Seamus Coleman.

Attempt blocked. Eugeniu Cebotaru (Moldova) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Veaceslav Posmac with a headed pass.

Foul by David Meyler (Republic of Ireland).

Andrei Cojocari (Moldova) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by David Meyler (Republic of Ireland).

Eugeniu Cebotaru (Moldova) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Aleksandru Gatcan (Moldova) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Jonathan Walters (Republic of Ireland) is shown the yellow card.

Jonathan Walters (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Alexandru Dedov (Moldova).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Shane Duffy (Republic of Ireland) because of an injury.

Booking

Igor Bugaev (Moldova) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Seamus Coleman (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Igor Bugaev (Moldova).

Attempt blocked. James McClean (Republic of Ireland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Republic of Ireland. Eunan O'Kane replaces Wes Hoolahan.

David Meyler (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Eugeniu Sidorenco (Moldova).

Substitution

Substitution, Moldova. Eugeniu Sidorenco replaces Gheorghe Andronic.

Foul by Vadim Bolohan (Moldova).

James McClean (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jonathan Walters (Republic of Ireland).

Victor Golovatenco (Moldova) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Republic of Ireland. David Meyler replaces James McCarthy.

Booking

Andrei Cojocari (Moldova) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Andrei Cojocari (Moldova).

James McClean (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Gheorghe Andronic (Moldova) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Wes Hoolahan (Republic of Ireland).

Foul by Aleksandru Gatcan (Moldova).

Callum O'Dowda (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Goal!

Goal! Moldova 1, Republic of Ireland 3. James McClean (Republic of Ireland) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Seamus Coleman.

Foul by Victor Golovatenco (Moldova).

Jonathan Walters (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

goal

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Netherlands21105234
2France21104134
3Sweden21102114
4Bulgaria210157-23
5Belarus201114-31
6Luxembourg200235-20

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Switzerland22005236
2Faroe Islands21102024
3Portugal21016243
4Latvia210112-13
5Hungary201123-11
6Andorra200207-70

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany22006066
2Azerbaijan22002026
3Northern Ireland21104044
4Czech Rep201103-31
5Norway200204-40
6San Marino200205-50

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Serbia32108447
2R. of Ireland32106337
3Wales31207345
4Austria31116604
5Georgia301224-21
6Moldova3003110-90

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Montenegro21106154
2Romania21106154
3Poland21105414
4Denmark21013303
5Kazakhstan201127-51
6Armenia200206-60

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England22003036
2Scotland21106244
3Slovenia21103214
4Lithuania20203302
5Slovakia200202-20
6Malta200217-60

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain3210111107
2Italy32107437
3Albania32014316
4Israel32015506
5Macedonia300347-30
6Liechtenstein3003112-110

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium22007076
2Greece22006156
3Bos-Herze21015413
4Estonia210145-13
5Cyprus200205-50
6Gibraltar200218-70

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia32108177
2Iceland32106337
3Ukraine31206335
4Turkey302135-22
5Finland301235-21
6Kosovo3012110-91
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