Ireland’s James McClean scored two second-half goals to secure a 3-1 win in Moldova on Sunday that put them level on points with the leaders in World Cup qualifying Group D though they were far from convincing.
Ireland went ahead after two minutes through Shane Long and looked comfortable until they were caught napping at the back just before halftime when Igor Bugaev levelled.
McClean restored the visitors’ lead when he stabbed home a close-range shot after 69 minutes and sealed the points six minutes later as Moldova’s challenge faded.
Ireland have seven points from three matches and trail Serbia on goal difference after they beat Austria 3-2. Moldova remain bottom without a point having conceded 10 goals.