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Saturday, December 14
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Nov 14, 2019 at 7.45pm UK
France
2-1
Moldova
Varane (35'), Giroud (79' pen.)
FT(HT: 1-1)
Rata (9')

TIMELINE

/esi/1339/6_G_1_98812/index.html?art_id=378960&game_id=98812&sport_id=1&ESI

Result: Late Olivier Giroud penalty rescues France in Paris

:Headline: Result: Late Olivier Giroud penalty rescues France in Paris:
Les Bleus had already qualified for Euro 2020 heading into Thursday's clash.
PA | 29d

Olivier Giroud's late penalty saw France move to the top of Euro 2020 qualifying Group H with a 2-1 victory against stubborn Moldova at Stade de France.

Turkey's draw with Iceland earlier on Thursday had eased any pressure on Didier Deschamps' side, guaranteeing their place at next summer's European Championship, and France put in an underwhelming performance in Paris.

With the need to win removed, Les Bleus made a sloppy start as calamitous defending from Clement Lenglet saw Vadim Rata give the visitors a shock lead with nine minutes on the clock.

However, Alexei Koselev's mistake gifted Raphael Varane an equaliser at the other end and France took all three points when Giroud sent the Moldova goalkeeper the wrong way from the penalty spot after Lucas Digne had been scythed down.

You could hear a pin drop in the stadium when Rata put the minnows in front. Lenglet twice failed to clear the ball with attempted headers, allowing the midfielder to nip in to steer the ball beyond Steve Mandanda.

Benjamin Pavard went close to an immediate equaliser with a dipping half-volley, while Giroud should have done better from Digne's cross.

Giroud went a little way towards making amends in the 35th minute when he was involved in the goal that got France back on level terms. The Chelsea forward used his strength to stand his ground as Koselev – who wanted a free-kick – let the ball slip from his grasp, presenting Varane with the opportunity to head home.

It looked like Kylian Mbappe would put the hosts ahead early in the second half but his goal-bound strike was blocked by a Moldova defender, before Giroud volleyed over the crossbar from close range.

France were dominating the match but it seemed their efforts would prove prove fruitless, until Veaceslav Posmac's reckless lunge on Digne inside the penalty area with 11 minutes remaining.

Giroud made no mistake with his spot-kick, firing home his third goal in as many appearances to complete the comeback.

Deschamps' side travel to Albania for their final qualifier on Sunday and will win the group as long as they avoid defeat, though they will still finish top if Turkey fail to get a result in Andorra on the same day.

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool17161042142849
2Leicester CityLeicester17123240112939
3Manchester CityMan City16102444192532
4Chelsea179263125629
5Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd176742116525
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd166642519624
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves165922319424
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs166553023723
9Arsenal165742424022
10Crystal Palace166461418-422
11Newcastle UnitedNewcastle176471724-722
12Burnley176382229-721
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton165472024-419
14Bournemouth175481924-519
15West Ham UnitedWest Ham175481928-919
16Everton165291928-917
17Aston Villa1743102330-715
18Southampton1743101836-1815
19Norwich CityNorwich1733111835-1712
20Watford171610932-239
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