Second-half goals by substitute Serghei Dadu and captain Alexandru Epureanu earned Moldova a 2-0 win against San Marino at the Stadio Olimpico in Serravalle – their first victory in Group H.
The hosts, who had leaked 11 goals in their first two games, held out until the 72nd minute when Dadu broke the deadlock from the penalty spot within 60 seconds of coming onto the pitch. Epureanu's header then sealed a timely success for the visitors 12 minutes from time.
Moldova threatened only from distance in a balanced first half, and although Ion Caras's men upped the tempo in the second period, they were eventually grateful for a Lorenzo Buscarini foul on Vitalie Bordian in the area. Dadu, who had replaced Alexandru Dedov a minute previously, kept his nerve from the spot.
Six minutes later, the match was beyond San Marino. A lapse in concentration at the back meant Epureanu drifted unmarked at a corner and nodded in the second. Fabio Vitaioli had a couple of late opportunities to register San Marino's first goal in qualifying, yet missed the target with the first while the second was well kept out by Stanislav Namaşco.
Moldova now have four points from as many games, while San Marino are still point-less after three. Both teams will face Montenegro in their next Group H fixtures – San Marino away on 14 November, Moldova at home on 22 March.