Dembele scores late winner as France beat England

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Dembele
Dembele

Paris, June 14: Ousmane Dembele helped France beat England 3-2 with a late winner in an international football friendly at the Stade de France here.

Tuesday night’s game was tied at 2-2 when the 20-year-old Dembele scored off an assist by the 18-year-old sensation Kylian Mbappe in the 78th minute, reports Xinhua news agency.

France lost last weekend’s World Cup qualifiers 2-1 to Sweden due to a fatal error from their goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in the stoppage time. However, the head coach Didier Deschamps still kept Lloris as their skipper, also bringing in Mbappe, Dembele and Thomas Lemar into the attacking line-up.

A minute of silence was observed to honour the victims of recent attacks in Manchester and London before the match, with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May also on the stand.

Harry Kane, last season’s Premier League top scorer, opened the scoring account as early as in the ninth minute, when Raheem Sterling’s back-heel freed Ryan Bertrand from the left wing to set up a low cross, and the Tottenham Hotspur striker coolly put the ball into the net.

France forward Olivier Giroud had his volley ruled offside on 14 minutes, and Dembele wasted a chance of levelling the score in just two minutes, only to see his shot off the post.

The hosts managed to score an equalizer in the 22nd minute, as Lemar’s free kick found Giroud, whose header was blocked by the goalkeeper Tom Heaton, while central defender Samuel Umtiti followed in to make it.

They went on to get an upper hand in score shortly before the break. Heaton stopped Dembele’s brilliant shot, but failed to finish another save on right back Djibril Sidibe’s shot on the rebound.

However, there was much concern for France early in the second half. Assisted by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system, the referee awarded the visitors a penalty, and showed France’s central defender Raphael Varane a red card as the Frenchman appeared to tackle Alli in defense.

Kane showed no mercy to his Hotspur fellow Lloris to convert the spot kick, setting it 2-all.

In the 71st minute, Mbappe got chance to score his international maiden goal, while seeing it hit the crossbar, and Lemar’s follow-in shot was saved by the substitute goalkeeper Jack Butland, before Dembele finished the game winner with 12 minutes remaining.

France, who slipped to the second place in Group A in the World Cup qualifiers following last weekend’s loss, will next face the Netherlands in late August.

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