International Friendly
  • Antoine Griezmann (73')
  • Mërgim Mavraj (40')

Antoine Griezmann spares France blushes against Albania

Substitute Antoine Griezmann rescued France from an embarrassing home defeat to Albania in their international friendly in Rennes.

Mergim Mavraj's header following a well-worked corner had the visitors deservedly in front at the break and it was not until 17 minutes from time that Didier Deschamps' side drew level.

Atletico Madrid winger Griezmann, introduced just before the hour-mark, spared the hosts' blushes by finishing in clinical fashion following a swift dribble into the area as the match finished 1-1.

It was a far from impressive display from the Euro 2016 hosts, though, against a team lying third in qualifying Group I.

Albania almost went in front in the second minute, with Hugo Lloris in the France goal having to be alert to tip a Ledian Memushaj header round a post.

At the other end Moussa Sissoko and Mathieu Valbuena both had shots off target, but the hosts continued to look vulnerable at the back.

Ansi Agolli's free-kick from the left picked out Mavraj, who volleyed over.

Alexandre Lacazette shot wide for France and then had an effort saved by Etrit Berisha, moments after the visiting keeper had also denied Lacazette.

But Les Bleus switched off in defence in the 41st minute, though, allowing Albania to take the lead.

A short corner on the left was laid into Memushaj, who turned neatly outside his marker and from the byline stood up a cross which Mavraj rose to head powerfully into the net.

A French response was slow to materialise even after half-time, with the lively Memushaj testing Lloris with a 20-yard effort early in the second half.

The Tottenham number one then tipped an Elseid Hysaj drive round a post as the visitors threatened to further embarrass their hosts.

But France pulled level in the 73rd minute thanks to a fine goal from Griezmann.

He skipped past a challenge as he cut in from the right along the edge of the area before shooting inside the near post with a low, left-footed shot.

Neither side could create anything of note late on as France had to settle for a draw.