Sunday 10 December 2017

Poor pitch could be biggest battle in Moldova

Martin O'Neill. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin O'Neill. Photo: Sportsfile

Fears have already been expressed about the state of the pitch in Moldova ahead of Ireland's World Cup qualifier there on Sunday.

Martin O'Neill has effectively banned his players from speaking about the second game of this double header, in Moldova, until tomorrow's home game with Georgia is out of the way.

Moldova, the minnows in this group, have managed just one win, against Andorra, in their last 22 internationals and have lost their last five home competitive games and little is expected of a side made up mainly of home-based players.

But the pitch at the 10,000 capacity stadium, which is also used by local club Zimbru, is not in good shape, with three club matches played there in the last two weeks.

"We have information that we will play on a poor-quality field in Chisinau which is even smaller than normal," said Serbia striker Andrija Pavlovic, who's in action in Moldova tomorrow night.

Ireland are targeting two wins from the next two games. "We need six points. But we have a huge game tomorrow and we can't look past that. It's very dangerous if you do that," says winger James McClean.

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