Football/Soccer

All still to play for as Ireland and Wales win and Serbia lose

Republic of Ireland's Daryl Murphy (left) celebrates scoring his side's second goal in the 2-0 win over Moldova
Padraig Kelly

World Cup 2018 Qualifying Group D:  Republic of Ireland 2 Moldova 0; Georgia 0 Wales 1; Austria 3 Serbia 2

THE Republic of Ireland are very much in the hunt for second spot in Group D – and still haven’t dropped out of the race for top – following a mostly positive set of results in their World Cup Qualifying group last night.

Martin O’Neill’s side were 2-0 winners against Moldova at the Aviva Stadium thanks to a first half Daryl Murphy double, but Monday’s match in Cardiff remains a must-win after Wales left Georgia with a crucial 1-0 victory.

The pair will also keep an eye on events in Serbia as a loss or even a draw against the Georgians could see the current leaders drop to second place after their 3-2 loss to Austria last night.

With only eight of the nine second-placed teams guaranteed a play-off spot, it’s all set up for a thrilling finale over the coming days but Murphy said that all they can do is focus on securing the three points at the Cardiff City Stadium and see what happens from there.

“We always knew that we needed to win this and we look forward to the next one,” said the Nottingham Forest striker.

“It (Monday’s game) is massive, it’s everything on it really.

“What we need to do now is rest and recover and get ready.”

Murphy’s strikes in the second and 19th minute brought his goal tally

to three in Qualifying, and he thanked O’Neill for giving him his chance to shine.

“He’s put a lot of faith in me throughout the years I’ve been in the squad and I just thought I had to repay him.

“It’s definitely up there (as his best Irish performance). Such a big game, to score two goals and win 2-0 and keep a clean sheet, you can’t ask for any more really.”

n Match report and ratings P78-79

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