Ir­ish win in Vi­enna

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

James McClean was the Repub­lic of Ire­land hero once again as Martin O'Neill's men took another step to­wards the World Cup fi­nals with a 1-0 vic­tory in Aus­tria.

West Brom winger McClean net­ted twice as Ire­land won 3-1 in Moldova last month and grabbed the win­ner shortly af­ter half-time in Vi­enna with a won­der­ful goal to­tally out of place in a largely for­get­table game.

The win en­abled Ire­land to take con­trol of Group D with 10 points from four games, three ahead of Ser­bia, who meet Euro 2016 semi-fi­nal­ists Wales.

Aus­tria's hopes of a play-off spot look re­mote al­ready and it was not hard to see why af­ter a per­for­mance that started in en­cour­ag­ing fash­ion but tailed off badly.

Hav­ing won just one of their open­ing three pool games the onus was on Mar­cel Koller's side to seize the ini­tia­tive early on and they duly obliged, Mar­cel Sab­itzer shoot­ing wide af­ter six min­utes and Marc Janko see­ing a snap­shot smartly saved by Ire­land goal­keeper Dar­ren Ran­dolph.

The visi­tors fi­nally set­tled, al­though their progress was re­peat­edly ham­pered by an in­abil­ity to main­tain posses­sion in mid­field where Harry Arter was mak­ing his com­pet­i­tive de­but.

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