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James McClean netted twice in seven second-half minutes, as Ireland beat Moldova 3-1 in Chisinau to move up to second place in Group D of the World Cup qualifiers.
Ireland got off to the perfect start when Wes Hoolahan set up Shane Long to net the opener in the second minute as the Southampton strike ended an 18-game goal drought for club and country.
Martin O'Neill's side were cruising until first-half injury time, when, inexplicably, all 10 outfield players pressed up into the opposition half as they looked for a second goal just before half-time.
Even so, the danger could have been averted had Shane Duffy kept his focus, but the Brighton defender followed the ball rather than the run of Igor Bugaev, and the 32-year-old striker needed no second invitation as he raced through to equalise.
Ireland looked rattled in the early stages of the second half, but things calmed down when McClean restored Ireland's lead on 69 minutes with a cool finish after Jon Walters had got his feet in a mess trying to control and turn on James McCarthy's pass into the box.
And the West Brom winger drilled home a second seven minutes later from Seamus Coleman's cross from the right, following another piece of brilliance from Hoolahan in the build-up.
Ireland take on Austria, who were beaten 3-2 by Serbia in Belgrade, in their next Group D qualifier on November 12.
Aleksandar Mitrovic twice gave Serbia the lead at the Stadion Rajko Mitic, only for Austria to level twice through goals from Marcel Sabitzer and Marc Janko, before Dusan Tadic, creator of both of Mitrovic's goals, netted a 74th minute winner to end Austria's run of 13 World Cup and European Championship qualifiers without defeat.
Wales lie third in Group D, with five points from three matches, after their disappointing 1-1 draw with Georgia at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Gareth Bale headed the hosts into a 10th minute lead but Georgia, ranked 137th in the world, equalised as through Tornike Okriashvili on 57 minutes.
Conor McGregor will fight Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight belt at UFC 205 in New York on November 12 live on the eir Sport pack. The eir Sport pack is free to all eir broadband customers. To learn more about setting sport free visit www.eir.ie/sport