Ireland v Moldova

Ireland host Moldova in their penultimate World Cup qualifier, and Martin O'Neill's team need to win

Patrick Madden Fri, Oct 6
LIVE: Ireland v Moldova

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  • Good evening!

    Welcome to our coverage of Ireland's penultimate World Cup qualifier against Moldova at the Aviva Stadium.

    Really, it should never have come to this. Having done most of the hard work, Martin O'Neill's side head into the final weekend of the qualification campaign needing two wins to keep their dreams of Russia alive.

    The 1-1 draw in Georgia felt terminal at the time - and the sobering reality now is that six points from their final two games still might not be enough to secure a place at next summer's tournament.

    But hey, enough of the doom and gloom. Ireland are alive and kicking and in with every chance. Putting away the Group D minnows tonight sets up a game for the ages in Cardiff on Monday, with qualification on the line.

    An hour until kick off in Dublin - here's to a good one.

    Come on!!!


    Ireland: Randolph, Christie, Clark, Duffy, Ward; Meyler, O'Dowda, Hendrick, Hoolahan; Murphy, Long.  

  • A positive team selection from O'Neill complete with the usual curve ball - tonight in the form of Callum O'Dowda.  

    Always nice to see two strikers picked, Daryl Murphy can ensure Shane Long won't be ploughing a lonely furrow up top for a change.

  • Bad news - time to stick the Georgia flags in the bin and wash off the red and white face paint.  

    FT: Georgia 0 Wales 1

  • Moldova: Cebanu; Bordian, Epureanu, Rozgoniuc, Racu; Gatcan, Anton; Dedov, Ionita, Platica; Ginsari.

  • It is a scientific fact that trying to work out the permutations of which team will finish second and miss out on a play off place is the hardest task known to human kind.

    There are nine groups, but - logically - just eight second place teams will go into a playoff. The waters are muddied further as points earned against the bottom team of each group don't count when it comes to working out who finishes bottom of the nine second place teams.

    This means three points for Ireland tonight are critical if they want to finish second in Group D - but should they manage that they won't count for anything after.

    Emmet Malone has had a good go at clearing it all up and you can read that HERE (it's correct up to last night's fixtures).  

  • For our sanity, it might be an idea to forget about all that for the next couple of hours.

    Just win, lads.

  • It has been pretty miserable campaign for the visitors - all they have to show for it so far are two draws with Georgia and four goals.

    They are without a competitive win in 18 games - a run stretching four years - and unsurprisingly manager Igor Dobrovolski was far from enthusiastic at yesterday's press conference.

    You can read his thoughts HERE.

  • Martin O'Neill was awarded a new contract yesterday, which will see him continue into the qualification campaign for Euro 2020. Slightly weird timing, but a serious show of faith from the FAI.

    He's picked an interesting side tonight. The back five is pretty self-explanatory, then it looks like David Meyler - who garnered plenty of plaudits for his performance in the 1-0 defeat to Serbia - will anchor a midfield diamond.

    He's got O'Dowda and Jeff Hendrick either side of him, with Wes Hoolahan scheming in behind Long and Murphy. Murphy has been Ireland's form striker so far this season, scoring six in 11 for Nottingham Forest, and his selection is deserved.

  • Although I'm not too sure about Murphy wearing number eight. Modern football.
  • 10 mins until kick off!
  • There's the state of play in Group D.

    Teams are in the tunnel.

  • Anthems done. A raucous start at the Aviva. An early goal would be nice here before the fear starts to take grip.
  • Do you reckon the Scotland fans at Hampden Park last night sang 'come on you boys in pink'?
  • There's an applause before kick off for the late Jimmy Magee.
  • Moldova to kick off. Come on, lads.


  • 1 min: Ireland's early shape suggests Murphy and Long ARE playing as a pair up front. Predictably scrappy opening exchanges. Hendrick gets fouled in the centre circle by Platica and angles the free kick towards Duffy, who heads towards the penalty spot where Moldiova clear.


  • The resulting throw in is sent deep into the box. It's flicked on and Murphy gets a good boot on it past a flapping Cebanu and into the far corner.

    And breathe.


  • 4 min: The start Ireland wanted. Moldova enjoy a good spell of possession after the goal, but Ireland are keeping their shape well with Meyler screening in front of his back four.
  • 6 min: Moldova threaten to get in behind on the right after the ball is threaded through the channel to Platica, but Ward does well to shepherd it out for a goal kick.
  • 8 min: Good touch out of his feet from Hoolahan and he has his shirt tugged by Anton. Free kick for Ireland in Robbie Brady territory - Burnley team mate Hendrick to take in his absence. Good line from Moldova and three green shirts are caught offside - including Duffy who gets a fist in the chops from goalkeeper Cebanu.
  • 9 min: Anton picks up the ball between the lines and runs at the Irish defence but excellent cover from Meyler sees him outmuscle the Moldovan. He's had an assured start.
  • 11 min: Hoolahan already starting to drop deep and pull the strings. He finds O'Dowda who cuts onto his left and curls one into the side netting at the near post. A corner of the Aviva thought it was in.
  • 12 min: Ireland are really starting to assert now. A ball to Ward forces a smart clearance. Again Ireland go long from the throw, but this time Moldova hack it clear after it's flicked on.
  • 14 min: Brilliant from Meyler, tracking the run of Dedov and turning the ball away inside the Ireland box. Moments later Gatcan tries his luck from long range and the ball nearly goes out of the ground.
  • 15 min: What a chance! Shane Long is yet to score this season and there was a golden chance to open his account. Good play from O'Dowda in the inside left channel sees him muscle his man off the ball, before looking up and cutting it back to Ireland's number nine on the edge - but his side-footed effort is inches wide of the near post.
  • 17 min: Dedov jinkig one way and then another on the Irish left and he crosses into the box where that man Meyler turns it away.
  • 18 min: Ireland defend a deep Moldovan free kick and Christie has the chance to surge down the right but his ball down the flank is poor.  
  • GOOOAAAALLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!


  • A truly brilliant goal. Hoolahan drops deep to pick it up from Meyler. He looks up and sweeps a brilliant ball to Ward on the left. Ward takes it in his stride and crosses brilliantly for Murphy, who sends a booming header back across goal and into the far corner. Direct, fast and brilliantly executed.


  • 22 min: Ireland go close again. Errant Moldovan pass in midfield and Hendrick picks up the pieces, surging towards the visitor's box and sliding Long in on the right. Long thrashes an effort straight at Cebanu, and his follow-up is then cleared off the line.

    Moldova break and Ciaran Clark is alert to turn a low ball behind for a corner, from which the ball is sent out for a goal kick.

  • 26 min: Yikes. Out of nowhere Platica spins onto a bouncing ball and laces a stunning half volley towards the top left hand corner - but Randolph tips it over. Great save.
  • 29 min: Moldovan corner on the right and they work it neatly, but again Meyler heads it clear. A loose backpass to Randolph nearly works as his clearance finds its way to O'Dowda, but he is well tackled as he tries to force his way inside.
  • 32 min: Another Moldovan corner on the right - Ginsari curls it towards Gatcan at the near post but his flick is easy for Randolph. Up the other end O'Dowda pushes the ball past Bordian and nearly jinks round to collect it but the Moldovan fullback recovers well.
  • 35 min: Meyler plays a ball down the right channel for Long - who looks offside but hares after it with no flag raised.

    He stands up his man and then cuts it back to the edge, but it's cleared with no green shirt in support. Moments later Murphy chases a lost cause down the left and pulls a good ball back from the byline towards Long, but Moldova clear.

  • 39 min: Promising break for Ireland on the right but Christie asks a but too much of O'Dowda with his return ball. O'Dowda does well to get in front of his man though and win a throw on the right. Ireland engineer it well, Hoolahan carrying to the edge with green shirts queueing up - but his pull back is cleared.  
  • 41 min: Good switch to Christie in space on the right and he pushes it past Rozgoniuc who promptly hauls him to the ground and earns a booking. Good ball in from Hendrick finds Clark, but his header back across goal is a yard wide on the right.
  • 44 min: The ball breaks nicely for Hoolahan on the edge but he's forced onto his unfavoured right foot and tries to cut it back for Murphy. Moldova half clear it to Hendrick on the edge who lashes one first time, and it's deflected behind for a corner. Good ball in but it's just too big for Duffy, who can't keep his header down.
  • Couldn't have asked for much more from that opening 45 minutes.
  • The teams are back out in Dublin - Ireland appear unchanged.
  • 46 min: Moldova force an early corner from the right, which Ginsari swings into the box. Racu wins the header which loops high into the air - Randolph comes and flaps at it, but then gathers at the second time of asking.
  • 50 min: A fairly sedate start to the second half. Good angled ball into the box from Duffy but Long can't quite get a toe on it and it scoots out for a goal kick.
  • 52 min: Hoolahan dropping deep again and scampering around, looking for the killer pass. Him and Meyler make an odd but effective couple, Meyler securing the ball and giving it to the Norwich City man whenever he asks for it.
  • 55 min: Neat spell of possession for Ireland comes to an end when Long is beaten in the air inside the box. Looks like he got an elbow there but the ref isn't interested.
  • 56 min: First Moldovan sub, Cociuc on for Dedov. The visitors have another corner on the right which Clark gets to but it loops high - Randolph is solid under it.
  • 58 min: A chance for the hattrick. Great ball in from Hoolahan, cutting back onto his left, and Murphy flicks it goalwards but it's well blocked.
  • 59 min: Clark does well to turn a Moldovan cross behind. From the resulting corner it's flicked on by a yellow shirt but Racu can't get a foot to it.
  • 61 min: It's been 23 games - will Shane Long ever score again? Brilliant flick round the corner from Murphy to Hoolahan, who shows great strength as he dances towards the box but passes to O'Dowda rather than shooting. O'Dowda's effort is deflected to Long who stabs a foot at it and sends it past the far post.
  • 64 min: Loose backpass from Epureanu to Cebanu and Ireland have a corner out of nothing. O'Dowda takes and it's headed back out for an Ireland throw. It's worked well and Christie goes on a brilliant, Coleman-esque run, weaving out and back to the byline. Ireland corner, but nothing comes from it.
  • 67 min: A good spell from Moldova, who knock it around nicely. Ionita finds space in the pocket and plays it out wide, but the cross is wild and fizzes out for a goal kick.
  • 69 min: Ireland seem pretty content to sit and let Moldova have the ball here. Normally it's a recipe for disaster but the visitors aren't making any impression on the final third.
  • 72 min: A glimpse for Moldova, as a long ball up to the Irish box is nodded down to Cociuc, who flashes a half volley miles over.
  • 74 min: In fairness to them, Moldova are giving this a go, and Ireland are allowing them plenty plenty of possession. The home side are more than comfortable though, with the visitors rediced to angled balls into the box as they run out of patience and options.
  • 76 min: Another glimpse from Christie, beating his man on the byline but then crossing too close to Cebanu, who gathers in his six yard box.
  • 78 min: First subs for Ireland, Harry Arter coming on for Murphy and Aiden McGeady on for Hoolahan. Played, lads.
  • 82 min: One last sub for Ireland - Sean Maguire comes on for Long. The crowd like that one. Get stuck in, lad.
  • 85 min: Angled ball into the box towards Duffy, whose header down is a yard wide of the lurking Maguire.
  • 87 min: Another glimpse for Maguire, who gets sandwiched between Epureanu and Racu as he looks to get his head on a cross from the left.
  • Two minutes added time.
  • 90 min: This is petering out nicely now - job done for Ireland.
  • RED CARD!!!

    As I say it's petering out, Gatcan sticks the nut on Arter and is shown a straight red.

  • Right then, thanks for joining tonight. An assured Ireland live to fight another day - all eyes on Cardiff on Monday.

    See you then.