France beat Russia 4-2 in football friendly
France beat Russia 4-2 in football friendly

Paris, March 30 (IANS) France returned to the Stade de France in a thrilling way as N’Golo Kante’s first international goal and a Dimitri Payet stunner helped the Euro 2016 hosts win 4-2 over Russia in a football friendly match.

Just eight minutes into the game here on Tuesday, French debutant Kante, celebrating his 25th birthday, got the hosts off to a fine start with a close range low shot after being set up by Antoine Griezmann, reports Xinhua news agency.

Andre-Pierre Gignac made it 2-0 in the 38th minute with a diving header at the near post through Griezmann’s free-kick after Aleksandr Kokorin was booked for a dangerous tackle on Patrice Evra.

Russia pulled a goal back after the interval as Kokorin jumped high to connect with a free-kick from Alan Dzagoev and head home past Hugo Lloris on 54 minutes.

Another birthday boy of the day, Payet then scored a sumptuous 30-meter free kick after coming on the pitch as a substitute for just one minute.

Yuri Zhirkov hit back four minutes later, slotting home from Oleg Shatov’s pass, before Kinglsey Coman wrapped the game up with a clever finish 14 minutes from time.

It was the very first football match to be held at the Stade de France since the November terror attack in Paris, and a minute’s silence was held in memory of the victims of last week’s Brussels bombings.

French President Francois Hollande, who said the same day that postponing or cancelling Euro 2016 was “never a question”, watched the friendly, despite fears following the Paris and Brussels attacks.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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