International Friendly
  • Ergys Kaçe (43')

France's struggles continue with defeat against Albania in friendly

Ergis Kace scored a stunning free kick as Albania beat France for the first time in their history in a friendly in Elbasan.

France, currently in the middle of two years without a competitive game as they host Euro 2016, were desperately disappointing and coach Didier Deschamps will have some thinking to do after also losing 4-3 to Belgium last week.

For Albania, meanwhile, this 1-0 win will come as a welcome morale booster to a team still in with a healthy chance of qualifying for their first major tournament next summer.

Olivier Giroud almost opened the scoring inside 10 minutes as he met a cross at the near post but he could only guide his volley wide.

France were having the bulk of the possession and Alexandre Lacazette was next to try his luck but he could not control his half-volley and it flew harmlessly over the bar.

What was proving to be a testing night for the hosts got more difficult as Andi Lila had to come off with an injury after a lengthy stoppage with Ledian Memushaj taking his place.

Albania then seemed to find their spark and Hugo Lloris had to do well to get off his line to deny Sokol Cikalleshi before Ermir Lenjani sent Odise Roshi's cross over the bar when it looked easier to score.

From nowhere Albania were dominating and Lloris was called upon to make a brilliant save just before the half-hour, getting down at his near post to deny Lenjani.

France then enjoyed a good spell without ever really creating a chance and Albania punished them a minute before the break.

Giroud fouled Lenjani on the edge of his own box and after both players had received some treatment, Kace curled a free kick into the top corner.

Lenjani had the best chance of the second half as he beat Christophe Jallet for pace but his effort on goal was a weak one as Albania continued to dictate proceedings.

Substitute Armando Sadiku saw a shot deflected wide before France seemed to come to life with Mathieu Valbuena bringing a save from Etrit Berisha.

The goalkeeper was called into action shortly after as Lorik Cana was adjudged to have fouled Paul Pogba and Valbuena's free kick had to be clawed away by Berisha.

France were now having the better of it but Nabil Fekir and Pogba both sent free kicks over the bar with Berisha making a smart save from Paul-Georges Ntep as Albania held on.

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