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Published: 22:27 | 9/10/16

O'Neill relieved after win in Moldova

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill was a relieved man after his side recovered from Shane Duffy's "dunderhead moment" to beat Moldova 3-1 in Sunday night's World Cup qualifier in Chisinau.

James McClean netted twice in seven second-half minutes, as Ireland moved up to second place in Group D of the World Cup qualifiers with the win in the Moldavian capital.

But the teams went into the break level, after Moldova's veteran striker Igor Bugaev had taken advantage of a Duffy mistake to cancel out Shane Long's second-minute opener

"It is great to come out with the three points as we played very, very well," O'Neill told RTE.

"Shane scored early for us and settled us down. We could have scored two or three more after that before a dunderhead moment and we conceded. Suddenly it is parity again just before half time when the game should have been won.

"We had to come out and do it again in the second half but of course, what it did do, was gave them a lift. We pulled it around and won the game and deserved to win the game in the end."

Long's goal was the third time in four competitive internationals that Ireland have opening the scoring in the first three minutes of a match, a habit that pleases manager O'Neill.

"Some of the sides we have played against in the recent past, I mean we got ahead against Italy and stayed on. We got ahead of Germany and stayed on. We did the same to Serbia, away from home, who just won against Austria tonight too? Not bad, that’s not bad at all," he continued.

Two-goal hero McClean says O'Neill offered a few choice words to his players at the interval, and the West Brom winger admits that Ireland took their foot off the gas after Long's early strike.

"It’s a massive result for us because just like the Georgia away game [in the Euro 2016 qualifiers, which Ireland won 2-1], you have to earn the right to play," McClean said.

"We scored early on and if I’m being honest I think we thought it was too easy. Conceding a goal before half time was a wee wake-up call for us. We got another rollicking at half time and rightly so.

"The manager said to us at half time not to get on that plane with any regrets. The only good thing about their goal was that it was just before half time and not full time. We had 45 minutes to put it right and luckily enough we did that."

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