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Daryl stretches Irish hopes – Ireland 2-0 Moldova

Daryl Murphy struck twice Friday night at the Aviva Stadium to guide Ireland to a crucial 2-0 win over Moldova.

Image: Irish Daily Mirror

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two goals in the first twenty minutes from the Nottingham Forest striker was enough to see off what was in truth quite an ordinary Moldova outfit that never really caused Ireland any problems on the night.

The night could have been even more comfortable for Ireland, as Southampton striker Shane Long continued his poor form in front of goal in 2017 as his run of only one goal for club and country in over 40 games continued, missing two clear cut chances at goal in the first half.

Wes Hoolahan impressed once again, as he tends to do whenever he starts, with the Norwich man looking like the only Irish player capable of causing any more damage in the second half where it looked like the other ten players had well and truly taken their foot off the pedal.

Hoolahan and Murphy were both taken off in the 78th minute to a standing ovation from the home crowd, before Moldova would be reduced to ten men in stoppage time when Alexandru Gatcan leaned in to head-butt substitute Harry Arter, with the outcome of the game in no doubt at that stage.

Murphy’s second and third international goals, gives Ireland renewed hope of claiming second place in the group and a place in the Playoffs for a chance to go to Russia next summer for the Fifa World Cup.

However, it wasn’t all good news for Ireland on the day, as earlier on Wales defeated Georgia in Tbilsi thanks to a second half strike from Tom Lawrence, which leaves Wales one point ahead of Ireland in Group D before Monday’s crunch clash at the Cardiff City Stadium.

It is still in Ireland’s hands despite the Welsh victory, as a win over Wales on Monday would propel the Irish ahead of Wales in the group, but even an Irish victory may not be enough to secure a Playoff spot, as it is not at all beyond the realms of possibility that Ireland could end up in bottom place of the nine second placed teams, with only the top eight going through to the Playoffs.

Speaking after the game, goal-scoring hero Daryl Murphy said:

“I was confident going into the game after scoring for my club this season and I wanted to repay the manager for his faith in me.

“It’s a big night for me. To score two goals, I can’t ask for any more really.

“We always knew that we needed to win these two games. Monday is massive. We will be ready.”

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