Goals from Hal Robson-Kanu and Aaron Ramsey saw Wales beat Moldova 2-0 and in the process move into second place in Group D. This win keeps their play-off hopes well and truly alive.
Following the Republic of Ireland’s 1-0 defeat to Serbia in Dublin, Chris Coleman’s side overtook the Boys in Green and now lie four points behind leaders Serbia who have 18 points.
West Brom striker Robson-Kanu’s goal, in particular, was a beauty. After a surging run down the left by Ben Woodburn, the youngster whipped in a beautiful ball across the box, which an unmarked Robson-Kanu headed home from six yards out. His perfectly angled header giving the keeper no chance.
Ramsey later sealed the win with a deflected half-volley from just inside the box, which looped over a helpless Ilie Cebanu.
While Wales ultimately claimed the win, with only ten minutes left it looked as if the home side, who have mustered only two points this campaign, were heading for an unlikely draw.
Determined and disciplined defending by the Moldovans allied to a lack of creativity from the away side meant it was goalless all the way up to the 80th minute.
And the home side continued to frustrate Gareth Bale and co. before substitute and man of the moment Ben Woodburn, also the hero against Austria, provided the crucial spark as Robson-Kanu finally broke the deadlock.
Ramsey’s 93rd-minute goal, meanwhile, brings to an end an excellent week for Wales, as they head into their penultimate qualifier against Georgia next month full of confidence.
A win against the Georgians and victory for the Republic of Ireland against Moldova in their next clash would set-up a huge game between both sides in Cardiff on October 9.
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena