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French Lesson For Bafana

Kylian Mbappe scored a brace as France showed their class, comfortably beating Bafana Bafana 5-0 in an international friendly at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille on Tuesday evening.

It was the first meeting between the two nations in twelve years and Bafana’s first against European opposition in 94 internationals, but the class difference was evident from the opening minute between the World Cup holders, ranked third in the world, and Bafana ranked 68.

In fact had it not been for eleven saves from Ronwen Williams the score-line could have been a great deal worse. 

France 5-0 South Africa

It was the French who took early control of the possession, cheered on by a full house of home support. Oliver Giroud had a good chance in just the fifth minute, but Williams pulled off a strong reflex save to deny him.

Lyle Lakay’s free-kick in the ninth minute was on target but was straight down the throat of French goalkeeper Mike Maignan, while Kylian Mbappe was off target a minute later at the other end. Mbappe went close again in the 16th minute, his well-struck effort from outside the area swerving wide of Williams’ goal. Teboho Mokoena tried from range in the 23rd minute, but his effort was high and wide.

France took the lead in the 23rd minute, After some good work from Antoine Griezmann down the right, his cross found Mbappe just inside the box, and his excellent strike flew into the top right corner, leaving Williams with no chance. 

Another chance fell to Mbappe in the 30th minute, but his header was always off target, while Giroud’s header two minutes later went just over.

However Giroud did make it 2-0 moments later, as Griezmann found him in the box with a good pass, and Giroud showed composure to control the ball before firing past Williams.

Jonathan Clauss forced a save from Williams in the 37th minute, and the South African captain had to be alert again in the 42nd minute to deny Adrien Rabiot. Just before half-time, Mbappe broke free down the left before unleashing a powerful effort that Williams saved and was able to gather at a second attempt. After 45 minutes the French were in complete command, leading 2-0.

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After the break, Hugo Broos brought on Khuliso Mudau for his second cap, and also Goodman Mosele, who was making his debut. 

But it was the French who picked up where they left off, and early second half chances fell to Raphael Varane and Clauss, however both were off target.

Mbappe almost got another in the 52nd minute, but Williams got a touch to his shot, and it struck the crossbar and went over. Williams saved again from Presnel Kimpembe at the resulting corner. 

Williams pulled off another top save to deny Giroud in the 54th minute, as the World champions continued to attack with free abandon.

Mbappe dribbled through the defence in the 63rd minute, before unleashing another shot that Williams was able to block, and a minute later Williams denied Lucas Digne, his save deflecting onto the woodwork.

Mbappe was off target again in the 68th minute, while three minutes later Williams saved another effort from the French star. Paul Pogba, who had come on off the bench, was off target moments later.

France were awarded a penalty in the 74th minute after Siyanda Xulu brought down Mbappe in the box. Mbappe picked himself to take the spot kick, and while Williams went the right way, he was unable to stop it being converted.

French substitute Wissam Ben Yedder added the fourth in the 82nd minute, tapping in at close range.

Mudau was shown a red card in the 84th minute after a VAR intervention, for a nasty tackle on Digne, and Bafana were reduced to ten men.

Mbappe, looking for his hattrick, tried from range in the 87th minute, but it lacked power and Williams saved.

The French added their fifth in stoppage time Matteo Guendouzi curling one in from outside the area.

5-0 it ended, as Broos’s team learnt some hard lessons on the night.

iDiski Times
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