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Republic of Ireland and Wales win World Cup qualifiers

Republic of Ireland secured a critical win over Moldova in Friday's World Cup qualifier.

Daryl Murphy's first-half double set up an intriguing World Cup qualification trip to Wales as the Republic of Ireland eased past Moldova 2-0.

The Nottingham Forest striker marked his 30th senior cap with his second and third goals for his country on a night when victory was the only option if Ireland were to keep their hopes of emerging from Group D alive.

They now head to Cardiff on Monday having to beat Chris Coleman's Euro 2016 semi-finalists, who are ranked 21 places above them by FIFA, to stand a chance of progressing from a wide-open group. A draw will be enough for Wales to go into the play-offs.

Earlier on the night, Tom Lawrence answered Wales' call for a hero to boost their hopes in a 1-0 win against Georgia in Tbilisi.

Wales were without their injured talisman Gareth Bale, but Lawrence ensured the Real Madrid star's absence was not felt as he struck a 25-yard winner four minutes into the second half.

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Paul Vegas

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