Kazakhstan 0-2 France: Didier Deschamps’ side win crucial Group D encounter thanks to Ousmane Dembele’s first France goal since June 2018 but Kylian Mbappe has his penalty saved
Ousmane Dembele inspired France to a 2-0 victory over Kazakhstan on Sunday in their second match in World Cup qualifying Group D to mark a successful return to the world champions’ team.
Four days after being held 1-1 by Ukraine at the Stade de France, the French built their win in the first half with Sergiy Maliy’s own goal adding to Dembele’s opener before Kylian Mbappe missed a second-half penalty.
France moved top of the standings with four points, ahead of Bosnia, who they face away on Wednesday, Ukraine and Finland; Ukraine host Finland later on Sunday. Kazakhstan have zero points after playing their first game of the campaign.
Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembelele scored his first international goal since June 2018 in a 3-1 win
France were then celebrating after Sergiy Malyi scored an own goal just before half-time
‘The job is done. We could have scored more goals if we had been more clinical after the break,’ said coach Didier Deschamps.
France midfielder Paul Pogba said Kazakhstan proved to be worthy opponents on an artificial pitch in a covered stadium.
‘Kazakhstan never gave up. Everybody thought they’d let five goals in but that was not the case at all,’ he said.
Only captain Hugo Lloris and Antoine Griezmann remained from the team who started against Ukraine, with the Barcelona forward setting a new record of 45 consecutive starts for Les Bleus.
Manchester United striker Anthony Martial (above) came off just before the hour with an injury
He beat the previous mark of Patrick Vieira, who started 44 games in a row between 1999 and 2002.
It was Griezmann’s club team-mate Dembele who broke the deadlock on 20 minutes with a right-footed shot after being set up by Anthony Martial following a defence-splitting pass from Pogba.
Dembele returned to the France side as a second half substitute against Ukraine, more than two years after his previous cap in November 2018.
His third international goal from 23 appearances, his first since a 3-1 friendly win against Italy in June 2018, came as a welcome boost less than two months before coach Deschamps names his squad for this year’s European Championship.
France striker Kylian Mbappe came off the bench but saw his 75th-minute penalty well saved
‘We know Ousmane can bring a lot to this team, he still needs to improve, we know it,’ Pogba said. ‘I’m taking him under my wing to boost him.’
Les Bleus doubled the lead on the stroke of halftime when Maliy, who had just denied Martial, headed a cross into his own net.
France were never threatened and had a big opportunity to add a third in the 76th minute, but Mbappe’s spot-kick was saved by Aleksandr Mokin.
The Paris Saint Germain striker had another chance in the dying minutes, but was denied again by Mokin.
But World Cup-winning France boss Didier Deschamps (pictured) saw his side secure the win
Match Facts: Kazakhstan vs France
Kazakhstan (5-3-2): Mokin; Bystrov, Erlanov, Malyi, Alip, Valiullin (Samorodov 83); Muzhikov (Vorogovskiy 65), Tagybergen, Vasiliev (Astanov 89); Nurgaliev (Karimov 83), Fedin (Tungyshbayev 65).
Substitutes not used: Pokatilov (GK), Seysen (GK); Marochkin, Usenov, Dosmagambetov, Orazov, Beisebekov.
Manager: Talgat Baysufinov.
France (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Dubois, Zouma, Lenglet, Digne; Ndombele (Sissoko 82), Pogba (Rabiot 59); Dembele (Coman 90), Griezmann (Ben Yedder 59), Lemar; Martial (Mbappe 59).
Substitutes not used: Mandanda (GK), Maignan (GK); Pavard, Mendy, Varane, L. Hernandez, Giroud.
Yellow cards: Dembele 88.
Goals: Dembele 19, Malyi (OG) 44.
Manager: Didier Deschamps.