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Like Wales without Bale - O'Neill talks up absent Coleman's importance

07 October 2017

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has praised his players for getting the job done against Moldova to set up a crucial World Cup qualifying clash with Wales next Monday. Victory for the visitors could secure second place in Group D depending on how the Republic of Ireland fare against Moldova.

Nothing but a win will do for Ireland tonight against Moldova and Martin O'Neill has named an attacking side to reflect that.

"Him not playing helps, but Wales have been able to win matches without him". If we win the game, that will be enough confidence to take us to Cardiff regardless.

However Ireland continued to push the Moldovans high up the pitch with the home side almost even being caught out for pushing too many players forward after Wes Hoolahan's wayward pass led to the visitors first look at the Irish goal, although it was nothing that would trouble Darrren Randolph.

"This is it: we must win tomorrow night".

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But only if O'Neill picks the right team and that has to include a starting role for Hoolahan.

"Knowing that group - Coleman, his coaches and players - and how they talk about things, they will be fully focused on the Georgia match and not even thinking about the Republic at all".

"But obvioulsy qualification for the Euros made it all worthwhile".

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And they were given no time to pose any sort of threat to Ireland last night, with the home side in front before two minutes had elapsed. From a long throw from Stephen Ward, Daryl Murphy got a touch and finished nicely to give the crowd something to cheer and get behing early on.

Murphy did not make the same mistake five minutes later when, after Hoolahan had picked out Ward with a raking cross-field pass, the full-back delivered it to the far post for the striker to head it back across Cebanu and make it 2-0.

The second goal was all about the ball.

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Like Wales without Bale - O'Neill talks up absent Coleman's importance