Ireland reach World Cup play-offs

Ex-Juventus star Giovinco opens AFC Champions League account with scorcher

Republic of Ireland qualified for the play-offs at the expense of Wales after a 1-0 win at the Cardiff City Stadium in their final World Cup qualifier on Monday.

  • Wales 0 Republic of Ireland 1
  • Randolph makes a string of saves
  • Still goalless at the break
  • Randolph fires Ireland ahead
  • Wales unable to find equaliser

Match Summary

Both teams needed victory to keep their qualification hopes alive, but the Dragons failed to convert their dominance into goals as Martin O'Neill's side clinched the runners-up spot in Group D, courtesy of James McClean's 57th-minute strike.

The defeat was their first in qualifying for the Welsh, who finished two points behind the Irish and a further two adrift of group winners Serbia.

Full Report

The hosts made all the headway in the opening stages and created two early chances, with Hal Robson-Kanu flicking a header over the crossbar from Joe Ledley's cross on four minutes, before Aaron Ramsey drew a fingertip save out of Darren Randolph four minutes later with a shot from 25 yards out.

Randolph was called into action again on 25 minutes as Tom Lawrence let fly from 30 yards out, although his shot was straight at the keeper.

Ireland were absorbing a lot of pressure, but they finally threatened on the half-hour mark when Shane Duffy flashed the ball across the face of goal after being played in on the right by Ciaran Clark.

The final chance of the first half saw Ben Davies sky a right-footed shot over the target from a corner in the 38th minute, as the two teams remained deadlocked at the break.

Wales made a bright start to the second half and went close to opening the scoring on 52 minutes when Chris Gunter flicked a header into the side-netting from Ramsey's corner.

Randolph then pulled off a superb save moments later to deny Robson-Kanu, who connected with Jonathan Williams' cross from the right, but watched the keeper tip his header over the crossbar.

It proved crucial as the Irish made the breakthrough four minutes later. Jeffrey Hendrick pounced on a poor clearance by Williams and raced away down the left flank before sending in a cross to the back post, where McClean slotted home on the volley.

Wales looked to respond as Davies cut inside from the left and lined up a shot from 22 yards out that was deflected into the arms of Randolph.

Ireland were well organised, though, and restricted the Euro 2016 semi-finalists two just two more chances in the closing stages. Williams failed to make clean connect with Ramsey's dangerous cross three minutes from time and the Arsenal midfielder fired straight at Randolph from the edge of the box in stoppage time.