Sep 5, 2017 at 7.45pm UK

Epureanu (10'), Dedov (45'), Graur (52')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Robson-Kanu (80'), Ramsey (93')
King (44'), Robson-Kanu (57')

Live Commentary: Moldova 0-2 Wales - as it happened

Live Commentary: Moldova 0-2 Wales - as it happened
© SilverHub
Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Wales's 2-0 win over Moldova, as the Dragons battled to a second victory in the space of three days.

Hal Robson-Kanu and Aaron Ramsey netted in the final 10 minutes as Wales battled to a 2-0 win over Moldova at the Zimbru Stadium in Chisinau.

The Dragons created a number of openings but could not find a way through until late on in a match that they simply had to win.

Robson-Kanu converted from a Ben Woodburn cross, before Ramsey sent a deflected shot into the back of the net to seal the three points.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.

6.45pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the World Cup qualifying clash between Moldova and Wales at the Zimbru Stadium. The Dragons are firmly back on track for a top-two finish in Group D thanks to their truly massive 1-0 victory over Austria at the Cardiff City Stadium a few days back, setting them up nicely for this encounter in Chisinau.

6.47pmThis should be an away banker on the face of it, against the group's so-called whipping boys, though the Dragons have bad memories from their only previous visit to this part of the world back in 1994 - more on that a little later. There is no denying that Moldova are there for the taking tonight, though, and this could represent a good opportunity for Wales to get some goals on the board as goal difference could well come into the equation.


STARTING XI: Hennessey; Gunter, Chester, Williams, Davies; Allen, King; Bale, Ramsey, Lawrence; Robson-Kanu

SUBS: Ward, A.Davies, Lockyer, Taylor, Richards, Ampadu, Edwards, Evans, Ledley, Woodburn, Watkins, Vokes

6.51pmStarting with a look at the visiting team, manager Chris Coleman has decided to freshen things up slightly by making three changes to his starting lineup. One of those to come back into the fold is Joe Allen, who was missed in the slender win over Austria last time out due to suspension. The Stoke City midfielder replaces Dave Edwards in the centre of the park, while Hal Robson-Kanu comes in for Sam Vokes up front.

6.53pmThose are two fairly predictable changes made by Coleman on the face of it, with Robson-Kanu giving them some pace in behind, while Allen was always expected to come straight back into the fold upon his return from suspension. The third alteration is a bigger call, though - Andy King coming in for Jazz Richards, meaning a four-man defence for the visitors. The Dragons have had so much joy with two wing-backs, though after a disappointing first half against Austria a change was needed.

6.55pmThe other big news is that Ben Woodburn, the Liverpool teen who marked his international debut with a goal 261 seconds after coming off the bench, is overlooked for a starting spot. After making such an impressive impact against Austria, we will surely see the forward at some stage over the 90 minutes in Chisinau. Elsewhere, Neil Taylor is back in the squad after returning from an extended two-game ban, while Joe Ledley is again among the back-ups after struggling to find a new club.


STARTING XI: Cebanu, Posmac, Epureanu, Bordian, Rozgoniuc, Graur, Ionita, Dedov, Anton, Pascenco, Ginsari

SUBS: Pascenco, Namasco, Armas, Carp, Cociuc, Cebotaru, Cojocari, Ivanov, Antoniuc, Platica, Ambros, Bugaiov

6.59pmSwitching attention to the home side, they have been boosted by the return of experienced defender Vitalie Bordian this evening, taking his place in a four-man backline. Ahead of him is a four-man midfield, while Alexandr Pascenco and Radu Ginsari are fielded in attack. Petru Racu and Alexandru Gatcan were big doubts in the build-up to the game due to injury, and both are absent from the 23-man squad.

7.01pmFour changes made by boss Igor Dobrovolski in total from the 3-0 loss to group leaders Serbia on Saturday evening, with Cebotaru, Armas, Cojocari and Cociuc all making way. In their place come Rozgunic, Graur, Pascenco and the aforementioned Bordian, who will provide some experience in the backline. A tough night ahead for Moldova against a Wales side now full on confidence - will they be able to hold out for the full 90 minutes to snatch a point?

7.03pmWales boss Chris Coleman freshens up his side by making three changes. In come Hal Robson-Kanu, Andy King and the back-from-suspension Joe Allen, meaning a change in formation - four at the back compared to five. It is a similar story for minnows Moldova, who show four changes following on from their 3-0 loss at the hands of Group D leaders Serbia a few days back.

Hal Robson-Kanu of Wales celebrates scoring their second goal against Slovakia at Stade Matmut Atlantique on June 11, 2016© Getty Images

7.05pmWales have a real chance to close the gap on top-two sides Serbia and Ireland this evening, then, having come through that difficult Austria test in the Welsh capital on Saturday. The Dragons were boosted heading into that match by Ireland's dropped points in Georgia - far from an easy place to go, as Wales may well find out in a month's time - and they took full advantage by closing the gap to just two points.

7.07pmIt is a result that may not have been fully deserved, with Austria dominating half of the match. A failure to take their chances cost them in the end, however, and the Dragons were able to snatch all three points thanks to a stunning debut goal from Woodburn. The Liverpool teen is the name being mentioned by those Wales supporters in Chisinau this evening, though he is made to wait for his first start as Coleman has opted to keep him in reserve.

7.09pmThe victory over Austria extended Wales's good run of form in competitive competition, which has seen them lose just one of their last 11 competitive matches - a 2-0 loss to Portugal in the semi-finals of Euro 2016. The Dragons have also lost just one of their last 19 qualifiers, meanwhile, and even that was described as the "best defeat ever" by Gareth Bale; the setback away to Bosnia not enough to prevent the nation from reaching the Euros.

7.11pmThis run, now stretching back four years to a qualifying loss at home to Serbia, has made Wales one of the toughest sides to overcome on the continent. A run of draws put their hopes of reaching Russia 2018 in jeopardy, though - five in succession a Welsh record, spanning from the 2-2 draw in Vienna through to the 1-1 affair in Belgrade three months back. Yet on the face of it, each of their away points were more than credible.

7.13pmAs well as drawing in Vienna and Belgrade, Wales also went to Dublin and got a point with 10 men. The home draw with Serbia was disappointing but not disastrous, though being held by Georgia at the Cardiff City Stadium seriously dented their hopes of qualifying. Once the dust had settled on the draw away to Serbia, it meant that the Dragons had to essentially pick up four wins from four against Austria (h), Moldova (a), Georgia (a) and Ireland (h).

7.15pmPart one of that scenario, which will surely be enough to see them finish top of the standings, has been crossed off. Austria were tough opposition but the Dragons did what was required to get the job done; now comes a different test entirely against a Moldova side well down the rankings and without a victory in competitive competition for some four years. One match at a time and all that - three points must simply be put on the board tonight.

7.17pmDue to the run of draws over the past year, Wales have actually gone six without a victory on their travels when taking friendlies into account. Three draws and three defeats is their worst-such run since 2002 when Mark Hughes was in charge of the national side. Wales know that, despite five draws in succession, finishing top will be a serious possibility should results elsewhere go their way this evening.

7.19pmThe much taking place in Dublin between top-two sides Serbia and Ireland is a strange one from a Welsh perspective. There is an argument to be made for a home win, away win and a draw, though it is surely the latter that will work best - two points being dropped by both. What makes it all the more interesting is that Wales face Ireland in their final match, so that could be a straight shootout for top spot on second, despite on how Serbia fare.

7.21pmSerbia also have to travel to Austria before welcoming Georgia in the final round of matches. The trip to Austria could be a little easier should they slip-up in the other Group D tonight, though as things stand they can still just about qualify for Russia 2018 should results turn out favourably. Ireland take on Moldova at the Aviva Stadium in their next match, meanwhile, before that huge showdown with Wales in Cardiff in a little over a month's time.

7.23pmPlenty of permutations to take into account, of course, and that is without even mentioning the complicated playoff system. Eight of the nine best runners-up make it through to the playoffs; as things stand Group D could well be the one that misses out, largely due to the fact that teams are dropping so many points. It is too soon to look into that 'runners-up table' in too much depth just yet - that can wait for the next batch of fixtures in October.

7.25pmPREVIOUS MEETINGS! This is the fourth meeting between these two sides, the most recent of which saw Wales come out on top 4-0 winners exactly a year ago today. Gareth Bale netted twice in the second half at the Cardiff City Stadium and Sam Vokes and Joe Allen also registered, giving the Dragons the perfect start to their campaign. Moldova have lost the last two fixtures, in fact, but they did win the only previous encounter here when prevailing 3-2 in 1994.

7.27pmGareth Bale scored twice in the reverse meeting between these two sides, as Wales ran out 4-0 winners at the Cardiff City Stadium exactly one year ago today. The Real Madrid forward's double puts him level with the late Gary Speed as the Dragons' top scorer in this fixture; two of seven goals he netted across 2016. Bale has yet to get off the mark for his country in 2017, however, which he will be desperate to change tonight.

Gareth Bale in action during the World Cup qualifier between Wales and Austria on September 2, 2017© SilverHub

7.29pmBale, Ramsey and Allen are all key for the visitors tonight. It is not all that often the trio start together, though when they do Wales tend to win. Woodburn is very much the man - or should that be boy - of the moment right now, though, thanks to that top-class goal he netted against Austria on Saturday night. It took just 261 seconds for him to prove his worth and, judging by the players emerging through the age-grade sides at the moment, he is just one of many who could earn hero-like status in the years to come.

7.31pmMoldova will be aiming to pull off an almighty upset this evening, having gone 17 qualifiers and a full four years since their last victory. It is just two wins in 22 when taking friendlies into account, meanwhile, courtesy of triumphs over fellow minnows San Marino and Andorra. The hosts are stronger opposition than those aforementioned sides, as well as the likes of Gibraltar and Malta, but Wales should still be coming out on top comfortably tonight.

7.33pmDobrovolski's charges have picked up points home and away against Georgia so far this campaign, but they have fallen short against the top four sides. They have also shipped 15 goals in those losses, with three matches still left to play. The truth is, Moldova do not score too many goals and they concede far too many, meaning that this is surely a chance for the visitors to improve their goal difference.

7.35pmColeman says, rightly, that three points is the main priority. Wales currently boast a marginally better goal difference than Ireland but they are four worse off than Serbia, who face a tricky evening at the Aviva Stadium tonight. Furthermore, the complicated playoff system also takes goal difference into account so, with games against Georgia (a) and Ireland (h) to come, this is the Dragons' best chance to bolster their hopes.

7.37pmMoldova travel to Ireland for their next Group D fixture in October, before then hosting Austria in the final round of matches. One point from nine would surely be seen as a positive, though boss Dobrovolski insists that he is only focused on picking up maximum points. All eyes are already on the next campaign, which gets under way in 12 months' time, with Moldova likely to be among the bottom seeds for that draw.

7.39pmDID YOU KNOW? Moldova have not won a home international since October 2013 when beating San Marino, though they have picked up four draws in their 14 matches since then. That 2-0 win here was also the last time they kept a clean sheet at the Zimbru Stadium, which is far from a fortress. This is just the second-ever meeting between the two teams in Chisinau.

7.41pmWith kickoff at the Zimbru Stadium now less than five minutes away, let us check out some pre-match thoughts from both camps.

Igor Dobrovolski: "I have a small goal now [in this World Cup campaign] and it is to win. We need to forget the mistakes we have made and look forward. This is a difficult game but... you focus on the next win. I hope the crowd will be the 12th player on the pitch because we need their support. When I was a player and we lost 3-0 people would want to kill me! But these players need support - no matter how they played. I hope a full stadium will be more motivation for them."

Chris Coleman: "[This country] has really improved. It doesn't compare to where we stayed in 1994. We were sleeping in our tracksuits because the beds were so damp. We had cockroaches too. The country was in a lot of trouble at the time. We lost the game and they deserved to win. We let Wales down. That was a tough, tough place. I can see they've come on leaps and bounds. It's very small, tight, and narrow, but a lovely little stadium."

7.43pmDobrovolski looking to pull off an upset by picking up all three points this evening, then, but his side looked well off the pace when falling 3-0 to Serbia a few days back. Coleman was a part of the Wales squad that lost 3-2 here in 1994, meanwhile, though he says the country has developed massively since then. Not the most intimidating of venues, truth be told, with just 10,000 or so in attendance.

Wales manager Chris Coleman looks on during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Group D match between Wales and Macedonia at Cardiff City Stadium on October 11, 2013© Getty Images

1 minKICKOFF! We are up and running in Chisinau. Wales, statistically speaking, on their worst away run in 15 years, though they have picked up credible qualifying points during that run and should - all going to plan - pick up three more tonight.

3 minWales wearing a limited edition all-yellow kit this evening, incidentally, as they feel that they are cursed when wearing their more familiar black away strip. It is essentially just a template Adidas top with a Welsh logo and numbers stuck on!

5 minUpdates to come from the other Group D matches throughout the evening, with that match in Dublin having a particular baring on Welsh qualifying hopes. Not a great deal of action in Chisinau early on, as the Dragons attempt to acclimatise.

7 minWales have got their foot on the ball a little more over the past few moments, without doing a great deal with it. Could be a case of remaining patient and waiting for their moments to arrive, with 83 minutes of the match still left to play.

9 minHalf a chance for Hal Robson-Kanu, who got on the end of a right-sided corner but could not direct it on target. Ilja Cebanu dived across his goal but did not have to make contact of the ball, ending a good yard wide in the end.

11 minUPDATE! Georgia have taken a surprise lead in Austria, courtesy of a Valeriane Gvilia goal. The Austrians will be completely out of the race if it remains that way, having lost at the Cardiff City Stadium a few days back in a pivotal fixture.

13 minYELLOW CARD! Alexandru Epureanu is the first player to see yellow following a strong challenge on Bale. The home side's captain looked to get a bit of the ball but he followed through on his man and was rightly cautioned.

15 minSHOT! Dedov with a shot from range that was always rising. From the next attack, Artur Ionita had a pop from similar range and, although it was slightly better, Hennessey was never likely to be troubled between the sticks.

17 minThe Dragons have failed to really take control of this Group D clash so far. They have mustered one attempt, which Robson-Kanu guided wide with his head, while Moldova have had a couple of wayward efforts from the edge of the area.

19 minSAVE! Big, big chance for Wales to open the scoring in Chisinau. Bale had space to get a shot away from 20 yards out and, after Cebanu spilled it into the path of Ramsey, you would have backed the Arsenal man to convert. Cebanu recovered brilliantly to stop the ball and then Alexandru Epureanu was back on the line to keep out the third attempt from Robson-Kanu.

21 minRamsey's cross was well overhit but Bale kept the ball alive. Lawrence worked some space inside the box, though he failed to pick out a teammate when looking up. The visitors now finally enjoying some sustained pressure in the final third.

23 minRobson-Kanu has looked lively in the opening quarter of the game, sending a first-time effort on target for Cebanu to collect from his latest attempt. The offside flag was already up, though, and the home side can regroup once again.

25 minSuperb stop from Hennessey down to his left to push aside Artur Ionita's towering header. The Moldova midfielder climbed very high, though clearly illegally by using his man as leverage, which the referee spotted to award a free kick.

27 minA free kick from deep goes right the way through, where a relieved Hennessey is waiting to collect. Moldova have been well on top over the past five minutes since Wales's triple chance, but Bale was close with a long-range attempt a few moments ago.

29 minNearly a third of the match played and it has been very even so far. Wales had a big chance through Ramsey and Robson-Kanu, but that aside there has been little in it. The Dragons need to show far more than they currently are.

31 minCLOSE! Davies gets forward from his full-back position and, despite being close to 30 yards from goal, puts his boot through the ball on the half-volley and sends it narrowly wide. Decent attempt from the Tottenham man.

33 minWales enjoying their best prolonged spell in possession of the evening so far, with the two centre-backs pushing high into the opposition half. It comes to little, in truth, with the stubborn home side able to stand firm at the back.

35 minThe Dragons seeing plenty of the ball at the moment in the opposition half, but still they are unable to create anything of note. Home fans, all 9,000 or so of them, getting well behind their players at the moment following a positive opening 35 minutes.

37 minRather comically, Epureanu goes to ground holding his face when nudged by Robson-Kanu. Was not even worthy of a yellow, though the hosts were rightly awarded a free kick which causes a bit of panic inside the Wales box.

39 minHalf time fast approaching in Chisinau, where it remains all square. Wales not really done enough to warrant a lead, though there is still plenty of time to go and boss Chris Coleman will not be feeling all that concerned just yet.

41 minShocker of an attempt from Bale, who sends his free kick well wide of the target. It has not really been his night - it has not really been his year, in fact, as the Real Madrid forward has failed to net for his national side in 2017.

43 minMoldova get the ball into the box and King is needed to head it behind for hosts' first corner of the night. Wales just as likely to concede a goal at the moment as they are to score one. Some thinking for Coleman to do at the interval.

45 minShocker of a delivery from deep from Ramsey, pretty much summing this first half up. It may have been very different at the Zimbru Stadium had one of Ramsey or Robson-Kanu converted from that quick-fire double chance earlier in the half.


8.33pmKing was booked late in the half for a sloppy challenge, though he is not one of those one caution away from a ban. There was also a yellow shown to Alexandru Dedov for halting Bale's charge, in a first half that saw Wales fail to truly get going.

8.36pmHal Robson-Kanu glanced wide from a corner at one end and Artur Ionita sent a shot dipping over Wayne Hennessey's bar at the other, as the two teams traded blows in a tight first half. The best chances fell Wales's way, though, as a long-range strike from Gareth Bale was not dealt with by Ilja Cebanu and Aaron Ramsey was quick to pounce.

8.39pmCebanu was quick to recovery, keeping out the Arsenal midfielder's follow-up attempt before Alexandru Epureanu came to the rescue to block Robson-Kanu on the line. That aside the Dragons struggled to create too much in an attacking sense, with Ben Davies's half-volley from 30 yards clearing the post from their only other opening.

8.42pmPlenty of thinking for Chris Coleman to do during the 15-minute interval, then, much like three days ago when his side were outplayed by Austria at the Cardiff City Stadium. The Dragons never truly looked like conceding in the first half, though as it stands their qualification hopes will be hanging by a thread - they quite simply need a goal once play is restarted.

MOLDOVA SUBS: Pascenco, Namasco, Armas, Carp, Cociuc, Cebotaru, Cojocari, Ivanov, Antoniuc, Platica, Ambros, Bugaiov

WALES SUBS: Ward, A.Davies, Lockyer, Taylor, Richards, Ampadu, Edwards, Evans, Ledley, Woodburn, Watkins, Vokes

Wales striker Sam Vokes in action during his side's World Cup qualifier with Serbia on November 12, 2016© SilverHub

46 minRESTART! We are back under way at the Zimbru Stadium, where neither manages has made any changes at the break. Incidentally, there was a goal in one of the other Group D games late in the first half - Austria levelling up against Georgia.

48 minIt is as you were in Group D, then, with all three games now currently level. Wales have started the second half far more positive, moving the ball quickly and getting a shot away that was blocked before it could find the target.

50 minSAVE! Much better from Wales. Bale is picked out on the edge of the area and gets a fairly clean shot away, which Cebanu - not for the first time tonight - failed to initially deal with. The Moldova keeper was quickly on the loose ball.

52 minLawrence shows some nice footwork in the pocket to give himself a yard of space, but the shot was disappointing as it sailed high over the bar. Wales already looking better than in the first half, without managing to test Cebanu.

54 minYELLOW CARD! Again, Wales with a prolonged spell of possession in and around the opposition box, which ends with an attempt wide of goal. Davies is clattered into by Dinu Graur, who is rightly cautioned - Moldova's third of the evening.

56 minHalf a chance for Ramsey at the back post, getting on the end of a smart Robson-Kanu delivery but heading wide. The Dragons completely dominating this second half but they are failing to get any sort of effort on Cebanu's target.

58 minSAVE! The first serious save of the second half is made by Hennessey to keep out a Dedov drive pretty much down the middle. Up the other end, Robson-Kanu did well to wriggle free and then sent a shot inches wide of goal - as close as Wales have come this half.

60 minUPDATE! Goalless in Chisinau but there has been a breakthrough goal in Dublin, where Serbia have taken the lead against Dublin through a Aleksandar Kolarov goal. Wales, if they can score, will move up to second place in Group D.

62 minWALES SUB! Wales constantly knocking on the door, looking to Bale and Ramsey to make something happen inside the box. Robson-Kanu has been the liveliest player for the visitors so far, as Coleman turns to man of the moment Woodburn in place of Lawrence.

64 minShort stoppage as there is a supporter on the field. Play resumes with Wales quickly regrouping and putting together another attack, which culminates in substitute attacker Woodburn aiming for Robson-Kanu but not quite doing so.

66 minSAVE! Good tempo to Wales's play and they do look likely to net in the next five or 10 minutes at this rate. King wins a fifth corner, met by Williams's head but easily collected by Cebanu. Woodburn has had a couple of decent touches.

68 minCHANCE! Almost a disaster at the back for Wales, as Ionita gets in behind but cannot pick out Ginsari alongside him, waiting for a simple finish. Coleman responds instantly, bringing on Vokes for King - another striker.

70 minMOLDOVA SUB! Wales have lost their momentum over the past five minutes. Moldova's turn to make a change, bringing on Cojocari for Pasenca. Davies gets to the byline down the left and so nearly picks out Vokes, but it was well cut out by a home player for another corner.

72 minCLOSE! From the set-piece delivery Bale came close, nodding narrowly wide of the post. Wales leaving plenty of gaps at the back for Moldova to exploit at the moment, but they simply have to take the risk. Cebanu then slipped but the hosts scrambled the ball away.

74 minNow is the time for Coleman to start panicking a little, because time is fast ticking down. Home fans growing more and more in belief, in contrast, spurring their players on. Can Wales make that breakthrough they crave in the remaining minutes?

76 minWoodburn makes something happen with his first touch in the box, going to the ground under a challenge from Posmac. The referee felt that there was too little in it, which seemed like a fair shout having watched a replay.

78 minRobson-Kanu gets on the end of a loose ball inside the box but his shot on the turn was brilliantly blocked in front of goal. Full credit to Moldova - they are throwing absolutely everything at this and are refusing to go down.

80 minSerbia still lead in Dublin, so as things stand Wales will have made up a point on Ireland. That is not really what they were after, though - three points is an absolute must if they are to challenge for top spot in Group D.


82 minIt had been coming! Woodburn is again key to the goal, sending in a fine delivery from the left for Robson-Kanu to nod in from close range. A truly massive goal for Wales, who are now up to second place in the Group D standings!

84 minYou have to say Wales deserve that goal, though it is still harsh on Moldova as their defenders are no doubt battered and bruised right now. Coleman's men must now simply see out the final six minutes of the contest in Chisinau.

86 minSAVE! What a talent this guy is. Woodburn shows good footwork inside the box and manages to get a shot away, testing Cebanu down low - decent stop. A goal and an assist for the youngster in less than a full game of international football.

88 minMoldova giving Wales something to think about when charging forward, only for the visitors to stand strong defensively at the back. Ramsey works the shooting angle but decides against having a pop, which proved to be the wrong decision as he soon lost possession.

90 minWALES SUB! Dave Edwards, a starter in Cardiff on Saturday, is brought on for likely matchwinner Robson-Kanu. Moldova enjoying a late spell of possession, putting their opponents under a little pressure with four minutes to come.

90+2 minSAVE! Two minutes left to play in Chisinau and Moldova were so nearly level. A shot from the edge of the box had to be pushed aside by Hennessey, and from the corner Wales are left hanging on a little. Nervy, nervy finish here!


90+4 minMoments after seeing Hennessey pull off a top-class save at one end, Ramsey sends a deflected shot over Cebanu at the other for a killer second. From kickoff, Moldova attack and Dedov's shot-cross comes back off the bar - maybe not over just yet, after all!


9.46pmThe referee blows for full time, meaning that Wales - thanks to Ireland's defeat to Serbia in Dublin - move up to second place in Group D. A runners-up spot is now likely the best that the Dragons can hope for at this point, though two wins from their two remaining games and who knows?! Either way, this was a big night for both them and rivals Ireland.

9.48pmThat concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events from the Zimbru Stadium, and indeed for these latest World Cup 2018 qualifiers. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, while reaction will be available elsewhere on the site shortly. Thanks for joining!

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Wales forward Ben Woodburn scores on his international debut against Austria at the Principality Stadium on September 2, 2017
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