March 18 2018

Daryl Murphy Nets Brace As Republic Of Ireland Ease Past Moldova

March 18 2018, 05:10 | Van Peters

Two Daryl Murphy goals before the 20 minute mark were enough to earn Martin O'Neill's side a much needed three points. Wales was 4 points ahead of the Republic of Ireland who also was fighting against Moldova.

However, with Jonathan Walters and Robbie Brady returning to the Ireland squad, it will be interesting to see how O'Neill sets up from an attacking point of view.

"Coming into the final game, three teams can win the group". We have missed him and it would be nice to go there.

In the second-half, Ireland and Moldova both seemed content to limit exertions and play towards a comfortable Ireland victory.

Tom Lawrence sealed a 1-0 crucial win for Gareth-Bale-less Wales who continued to punch above their weight in their quest to reach the World Cup finals in Russian Federation.

Denmark beat Montenegro in Podgorica on Thursday (we wanted the opposite result) and now sit on 13 points in the runners-up table with a goal difference which Ireland realistically can't top.

None of the seven players in the Wales side on a booking picked up a caution, meaning Wales will be free of suspension for the Ireland match.

A first competitive start for Bristol City's Callum O'Dowda saw the 22-year-old shine in midfield alongside Wes Hoolahan, Jeff Hendrick and David Meyler. But it is the 1-0 win over Italy in Lille in their final group game which comes more readily to mind, and it will be a repeat of that kind of display for which he will hope in Cardiff.

"We've put ourselves in a good position but it's all to play for and it's a big, big game".

But he could now prove to be pivotal when Ireland head back to Cardiff on Monday. "To score two goals, I can't ask for any more".

But only if O'Neill picks the right team and that has to include a starting role for Hoolahan.

Other small nations from the old USSR have made a fair stab at qualification in recent campaigns as Estonia and Armenia qualified for, or at least had a sniff at, the play-offs, but Moldova have been terrible.

The hosts got off to a great start, with Murphy volleying home after just two minutes.

Ireland flew out of the blocks and took the game to Moldova as soon as they got possession. "The teams are quite similar, there'll be a lot of contact, and I think it'll be very exciting".

Murphy made it 2-0 to the Irish in the 19 minute.

Shane Long really should have extended the home side's lead with quarter of an hour can when, after O'Dowda had worked his way into space and squared the ball, he steered his shot inches wide of the post. With the exception of the matches with the Georgian team, in which Moldova played a draw, in the remaining matches Moldova - lost.

The bench isn't half bad either with plenty of interesting options.

Other news