Republic of Ireland 2 - 0 Moldova
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Ireland MNT: Murphy double secures Moldova win
Murphy scored both goals in the first-half to secure the win ahead of the crunch tie against second-placed Wales on Monday, October 9th in Cardiff.
Fresh from signing a new two-year deal with the Football Association of Ireland, Martin O'Neill selected Callum O'Dowda in the starting XI, who became the youngest player to start a competitive international under the Irish boss.
He also decided to go with two strikers in the starting XI as both Shane Long and Murphy started, and the latter immediately reaped the rewards. With just two minutes on the clock, Stephen Ward's long throw was flicked on by Shane Duffy and the Nottingham Forest striker fired home with a clinical left-foot finish.
Just before the 20-minute mark, Murphy put Ireland into a two-goal lead with his second of the game. Once again, Ward took advantage of the space down the left to get a deep cross towards the back-post and Murphy directed his header brilliantly into the right-hand corner.
Ireland didn't have it all their own way in the first-half as Sergiu Platica unleashed a fierce drive towards the top right-hand corner and Darren Randolph produced an excellent one-handed save to deny him in the 27th minute.
Ireland continued to press forward in search of goals and Shane Long should have added to the scoreline with 30 minutes remaining. Wes Hoolahan danced past two defenders to slide the ball through to O'Dowda who saw his shot saved and Long could only put the effort inches wide of the right-hand post.
With eight minutes remaining, O'Neill handed a senior debut to former Cork City and current Preston North End striker Sean Maguire but Ireland failed to add to the scoreline despite Moldova going down to ten men in the final minute.
Substitute Harry Arter was fouled by Alexandru Gatcan and after getting up, Gatcan put his head towards Arter and the referee brandished the red card.
The result sees Ireland maintain third position on 16 points with Wales one point ahead of them in second and leaders Serbia two points ahead after they suffered a 3-2 defeat in Austria.
Republic of Ireland: Randolph (GK), Christie, Clark, Murphy (Arter 77), Long (Maguire 82), O'Dowda, Hendrick, Hoolahan (McGeady 78), Ward, Meyler (C), Duffy.
Subs not used: Doyle (GK), Elliot (GK), O'Shea, Keogh, Whelan, O'Kane, Hourihane, Hogan, K. Long.
Moldova: Cebanu (GK), Racu, Epureanu (C), Ionita, Gatcan, Dedov (Cociuc 55), Ginsari, Bordian, Platica (Ambros 78), Anton, Rozgoniuc.
Subs not used: Koselev (GK), Pascenco (GK), Graur, Antoniuc, Cojocari, Pascenco, Ojog.
Referee: Bas Nijhuis (NED)
Republic of Ireland
- 1 Colin Doyle (G)
- 16 Rob Elliot (G)
- 4 John O'Shea
- 5 Richard Keogh
- 6 Glenn Whelan
- 7 Aiden McGeady
- 10 Eunan O'Kane
- 11 Seán Maguire
- 15 Conor Hourihane
- 19 Scott Hogan
- 21 Kevin Long
- 22 Harry Arter
- 12 Serghei Paşcenco (G)
- 23 Alexei Koşelev (G)
- 3 Dinu Graur
- 9 Alexandru Antoniuc
- 13 Andrei Cojocari
- 15 Eugeniu Cociuc
- 19 Vladimir Ambros
- 20 Alexandru Paşcenco
- 21 Petru Ojog
- Referee Bas Nijhuis
- Assistant Referees Joost van Zuilen
- UEFA Delegate Luca Zorzi
- Assistant Referee Two Charles Schaap
- Fourth Official Serdar Gözübüyük
- Referee Observer Oguz Sarvan
- Republic of Ireland
Shots on Target
Shots off Target
Republic of Ireland
3Shots on Goal4
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