Republic of Ireland 2
Dave Hooper Reports From Aviva Stadium
So in the end it comes down to one final game to decide Ireland’s faith in World Cup 2018.
Ireland were deserving winners having far more quality then their Moldovan opponents ranked 156 in the World, however there are concerns ahead of Monday’s celtic showdown.
While Daryl Murphy opened and doubled his home goals tally to see Ireland through, Shane Long was a blunt knife in the Irish attack.
There is plenty for the Irish boss to think about ahead of the crunch game with Wales were Ireland must win, but Friday night in Dublin was mission accomplished.
It didn’t take the home side long to get into their stride, just two minutes where on the clock when Daryl Murphy opened the scoring.
Stephen Ward’s long throw wasn’t dealt with by the Moldovan defence, Murphy pounced for a volley which Cebanu couldn’t get enough behind to keep out.
Shane Long came close to doubling Ireland’s lead 13 minutes later, Jeff Hendrick carved open Moldova, Long fizzed Henderick’s lay off just wide.
It was evident that Ireland were on course to make it 2-0 and Murphy rose to double his tally for his country in home games five minutes later.
Wes Hoolahan swept across field ball for Ward to race onto, teeing the ball up from the byline for Murphy to rise and head into the far corner of the net.
When the Moldovan defence backed off Murphy’s run three minutes later, it looked as if the Irish side were about to run riot.
Murphy pushed the ball into Long’s path, however Moldovan keeper Cebanu was quick to close the angle and deny Long.
The Tipperary man’s follow up was easily cleared away, a developing tale of the night.
With Ireland piling forward Moldovan started to get behind the weak full back Cyrus Chrisite a willing but weak deputy for Seamus Coleman.
Randolph was called into action on 27 minutes with a stretching save from Sergiu Plactica’s pile driver from outside the box, as the visitors found space in front of the Irish defence.
Randolph rose to the occasion as Ireland led 1-0 at half time.
Moldova ranked number 156 in the World had the better of the second halves opening exchanges, exposing Ireland’s defensive width in midfield.
Shane Long was guilty of a blunt edge missing just after hour mark, Calum O’Dowda’s shot was deflected by Bordian’s outstretched leg.
With the goal gapping Long steered the ball wide of the far post, throwing his arms in frustration from his bluntness in front of goal.
Cyrus Christie broke through the Moldovan rear guard 14 minutes from time, however his low cross across goal was too close to Cebanu.
Ireland were always better in the second half, allowing O’Neill to hand Sean Maguire an 82nd minute debut. O’Neill’s contract extension allowing some forward planning.
Alexandru Gatcan saw red in the first minute of stoppage, having barged Harry Arter to the ground, Arter response was met with a head butt.
Moment’s later Dutch referee Bas Nijhus brought the game to a halt, a needles red card for the Moldovan.
While it was job done for Martin O’Neill’s side, one senses Monday night should be a lot more eventful.
Ireland: Randaloph, Christie, Duffy, Clarke, Ward, O’Dowda, Meyler, Hoolahan (McGeady 78), Hendrick, Murphy (Arter 78), Long (Maguire 83)
Moldova: Cebanu, Bordian, Racu, Rozgoniuc, Platica (Ambros 79), Gatcan, Anton, Dedov (Cociuc 54), Ionita, Ginsari
Referee: B Nijhuls (Netherlands)