James McClean’s dou­ble gives Eire vic­tory in Moldova

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports International Football - LON­DON/

Repub­lic of Ire­land’s James McClean scored two sec­ond-half goals to se­cure a 3-1 win in Moldova on Sun­day that put them level on points with the lead­ers in World Cup qual­i­fy­ing Group “D” though they were fara from con­vinc­ing.

Ire­land went ahead after two min­utes through Shane Long and looked com­fort­able un­til they were caught nap­ping at the back just be­fore half­time when Igor Bu­gaev lev­elled.

McClean re­stored the vis­i­tors’ lead when he stabbed home a close-range shot after 69 min­utes and sealed the points six min­utes later as Moldova’s chal­lenge faded.

Ire­land have seven points from three matches and trail Ser­bia on goal dif­fer­ence after they beat Aus­tria 3-2. Moldova re­main bot­tom with­out a point hav­ing con­ceded 10 goals.

For Ire­land this felt like a sig­nif­i­cant night in Ire­land’s quest to reach a first World Cup in 16 years.

It was not as easy as it should have been against the side 161st in the Fifa rank­ings, it never is with Ire­land. And so, as the game drifted to­wards what would have been a des­per­ate draw, two-goal James McClean came to their res­cue to en­sure that an ear­lier favour from Ge­or­gia in Cardiff did not go to waste.

For man­ager Martin O’Neill was clearly cheered by news of Wales be­ing held when in­ter­viewed be­fore the game.


Repub­lic of Ire­land’s James McClean cel­e­brates scor­ing their sec­ond goal with Stephen Ward .

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