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Moldova vs Wales. FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D.

Stadionul ZimbruAttendance10,272.

Moldova 0

    Wales 2

    • H Robson-Kanu (80th minute)
    • A Ramsey (93rd minute)

    Moldova 0-2 Wales: Late victory puts Wales second in Group D

    Charlotte Marsh

    Wednesday 6 September 2017 08:08, UK

    Highlights of the World Cup qualifier Group D match between Moldova and Wales.

    A late 2-0 victory for Wales against Moldova saw them leapfrog the Republic of Ireland into second place of World Cup Qualifying Group D on Tuesday night.

    After an even opening period, Wales sprang into life in the second half and their pressure paid off in the 80th minute as a superb cross from Ben Woodburn was headed home by Hal Robson-Kanu.

    Aaron Ramsey then rounded off proceedings as his volley was deflected into the back of the net in the second minute of injury time to earn Chris Coleman's side a hard-fought victory.

    With the Republic of Ireland losing 1-0 to Serbia in Dublin, it means that Wales have now gone second in Group D, one point ahead of their home nations rivals and four behind leaders Serbia.

    Player ratings

    Moldova: Cebanu (5), Posmac (5), Epureanu (5), Bordian (5), Rozgoniuc (5), Graur (5), Ionita (6), Dedov (6), Anton (5), Pascenco (6), Ginsari (6).

    Subs used: Cojocari (4), Ambros (n/a), Bugaev (n/a).

    Wales: Hennessey (7), Gunter (7), Chester (7), Williams (7), B. Davies (7), Allen (8), King (7), Bale (7), Ramsey (8), Lawrence (7), Robson-Kanu (7).

    Subs used: Woodburn (7), Vokes (7), Edwards (n/a).

    Man of the match: Aaron Ramsey.

    Wales could have taken the lead inside 10 minutes as a Ramsey corner was met by the head of Robson-Kanu, but while the effort had goalkeeper Ilie Cebanu scrambling, the West Brom striker could only guide the ball past the post.

    Cebanu was called into a series of quick-fire saves on the 20-minute mark as Wales had their best spell of the first half. The Moldovan stopper initially parried a stinging effort from Gareth Bale, before tipping away the rebounded effort from Ramsey and Robson-Kanu's follow-up bounced wide off the leg of Alexandru Epureanu.

    Moldova's best chance of the opening period came five minutes later as Alexandru Pascenco's free kick was met by the head of Artur Ionita at the back post, forcing Wayne Hennessey into a rare save but the referee had already blown his whistle for a foul in the box so any goal would not have counted.

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    Team news

    Wales welcomed back Joe Allen from suspension and he was partnered by Andy King in midfield, replacing Dave Edwards and Jazz Richards. Hal Robson-Kanu also came into the side, with Sam Vokes on the bench.

    Wales were much improved in the second half and could have twice taken the lead before the hour mark. Ramsey and Bale linked up brilliantly again in the 50th minute before the Real Madrid forward's shot was saved by Cebanu. Robson-Kanu flashed a shot just wide of the post not long after.

    While Wales saw the better of the play, Moldova could have caused a shock in the 66th minute as Ashley Williams was caught off-guard and allowed Ionita through on goal. His attempted cross for Gheorghe Anton was put behind by Andy King before Ionita headed just wide from the resulting corner.

    But Wales finally made the breakthrough with 10 minutes to play and substitute Woodburn was once again involved. He powered down the right flank, easily beating Vitalie Bordian for pace, before firing a cross into the box that was headed in by Robson-Kanu.

    Wales' Gareth Bale takes a shot against Moldova
    Image: Wales' Gareth Bale takes a shot against Moldova

    There was more to come as Ramsey sealed the victory in the 92nd minute. He collected a Sam Vokes pass at the top of the box before hitting home on the volley, taking a deflection off the legs of Moldova captain Epureanu to send it into the back of the net.

    Match stats

    Wales won away from home for the first time since September 2015 (v Cyprus), ending a run of six games without victory.

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    Chris Coleman's side are unbeaten in their last eight games (W3 D5), and have won in consecutive outings for the first time since July 2016 (a run of three wins).

    Ben Woodburn has been directly involved in two of Wales' last three goals; scoring the winner against Austria and assisting Hal-Robson Kanu in this game, on both occasions as a substitute.

    Only Gareth Bale (4) has scored more goals than Aaron Ramsey (2) for Wales in the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

    Joe Allen hailed Ben Woodburn's impact, as the Liverpool midfielder came off the bench to assist Wales' opening goal against a stubborn Moldova side

    Man of the match - Aaron Ramsey

    While the victory was a collective effort from Wales, Ramsey's attacking contribution just edges him ahead. He continuously linked up with his team-mates throughout the game, particularly with Bale, and especially when chances were few and far between in the first half.

    He continued to be centre of the attacking play when it opened up for Wales in the second period, and rounded off his performance with a deserved goal, even if it did take a deflection on the way through. A good evening's work from the Arsenal man.

    Chris Coleman says his side’s patience paid off as two late goals gave Wales all three points against Moldova to keep them in the mix for a World Cup place

    What's next?

    Wales know they will need to win their remaining two games to make sure their second place spot is secured, and begin the next international break with a trip to Georgia on October 6.

    If the Republic of Ireland also beat Moldova in their next game, it could then be a straight shoot-out for second spot as they host Martin O'Neill's side at the Cardiff City Stadium on October 9.

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