Republic of Ireland Must Bounce Back from Disappointment Against Serbia
A disappointing defeat to Serbia hindered Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for Russia 2018, with manager Martin O’Neill left deeply frustrated by his side’s inability to find the back of the net.
They are expected to beat Moldova comfortably but the added pressure to perform could weigh heavily on their shoulders. O’Neill’s men must collect three points here and follow it up with another victory in Cardiff just a few days later if they are to stand any chance of competing in the World Cup 2018 next summer.
The narrow defeat left Ireland with just one win from their last five matches in Group D and trailing second-place Wales by a single point. Moldova are rock-bottom and cannot qualify, with just two points collected from their first eight matches, so all the pressure will be on the hosts.
Serbia sit top of the standings after taking 18 points from eight matches and they look on course to qualify for the tournament. They are five points ahead of Ireland.
Two new faces have been included in the preliminary squad, with Aston Villa striker Scott Hogan and Millwall’s Aidan O’Brien both receiving call-ups, but it’s unlikely that either of them will be pitched straight in against Moldova. Jonathon Walter is injured whilst both Robbie Brady and James McLean miss this game through suspension, causing O’Neill to shuffle his pack.
They beat Moldova 3-1 in Chisinau twelve months ago with goals from Shane Long and a double from James McLean and punters will be expecting them to produce a similar performance in front of their own fans. A repeat of that scoreline is available at 14/1 with bet365.
You can find details of all of the top Irish bookmakers here at BettingTop10, including Paddy Power, who make the Republic of Ireland overwhelming favourites for this tie at 1/12 with Moldova priced at 30/1 to spring a surprise.