Republic of Ireland recorded an important 2-0 win over Moldova at the Aviva Stadium in World Cup qualifying on Friday night.
- Republic of Ireland 2 Moldova 0
- Murphy on target on 2'
- Murphy adds a second with 19' played
It took just 90 seconds for Daryl Murphy to put the Republic of Ireland ahead at home before quickly adding a second on 19 minutes to keep alive hopes of heading to Russia next year.
After starting on the front foot, Murphy capatalised when a long throw into the box from Stephen Ward was flicked on by Shane Duffy to the goalscorer who poked in from close range.
Moldova responded by knocking the ball around while Callum O'Dowda came close to a second goal when he cut in from the right flank before firing in at the side netting.
Moldova then scrambled another long throw-in from Ward that was licked on by Duffy as Long wasted a great chance to score when played in by O'Dowda who had burst into the box.
But Ireland were soon two goals up when Murphy headed home a Ward cross from the left flank.
Darren Randolph expertly tipped over a Sergiu Platica half volley over his goal at the other end as Aleksandr Gatcan failed to trouble Randolph on 32 minutes.
Ciaran Clark then headed wide, while the half ended with Jeff Hendrick seeing his shot deflected over the target and Duffy heading an O'Dowda corner just over as well.
Randolph was kept busy in the opening minutes of the second half as the hosts again began probing for another goal, with Long missing a good chance on 60 minutes after O'Dowda's blocked shot landed kindly for him.
Randolph then did well to save from substitute Eugeniu Cociuc from the edge of the area as Ireland appeared more and more content to allow their opponents to come forward with the ball.
A number of changes late on for both sides only disrupted the rhythm of the game, however, there was time for one final moment as a frustrated Gatcan nudged Harry Arter before headbutting him and receiving a straight red.
Ireland saw out the victory to keep their World Cup hopes alive in third place in Group D behind Serbia and Wales.