Sun, Oct 09, 2016 - Page 11 News List

Ronaldo puts Portugal back on track

FRANCE WIN:Kevin Gameiro scored a brace as France beat Bulgaria 4-1, their first win in Group A of European qualifying for 2018, with the Netherlands their next foes

AP and AFP, AVEIRO, Portugal and PARIS

France drew level midway through the first period, Sagna making amends for his role in the penalty by crossing from the right for Gameiro, who stooped to head the ball into the far corner past Vladislav Stoyanov.

It was only Gameiro’s second international goal, his first since netting in a friendly in Ukraine in June 2011.

Three minutes later, France were in front when a Payet cross from the left went all the way in without anyone getting a touch.

Sagna then came off with a hamstring injury to be replaced by Djibril Sidibe, with Deschamps later admitting that the Manchester City player was a major doubt for the trip to Amsterdam.

However, disaster had been averted for France and they were then gifted a third goal seven minutes before the break.

The majority of the crowd was more taken by a Mexican wave than by events on the field, when suddenly Dimitar Pirgov gifted possession straight to Griezmann on the edge of the area and Euro 2016’s leading scorer applied the finish.

It was one-way traffic at the start of the second half and after Paul Pogba — who Deschamps said “can and must do better” — saw a vicious first-time strike flash just wide, France got their fourth goal just before the hour mark.

Layvin Kurzawa found Griezmann on the left and his low ball in was converted by his Atletico teammate Gameiro for his second of the evening.

His hopes of completing a hat-trick were ended when he was taken off 18 minutes from time to make way for Andre-Pierre Gignac, but France did almost further embellish their lead, Blaise Matuidi seeing an effort come back off the post.

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