International

Two-goal Matuidi sinks Serbia

2015-09-08 08:42
Blaise Matuidi (AFP)

Bordeaux - Blaise Matuidi struck twice as Euro 2016 hosts France continued their build-up to next year's tournament with a 2-1 victory over Serbia in a friendly on Monday.

The Paris St Germain midfielder fired his team ahead and then netted a spectacular second in the first half before Aleksandar Mitrovic pulled one back against the run of play.

Starting with a three-pronged attack of Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Mathieu Valbuena, France pegged their rivals back.

With Matuidi, Paul Pogba and Morgan Schneiderlin pulling the strings in midfield, the home team created a flurry of chances throughout a one-sided first half.

Matuidi gave them a ninth-minute lead with a firm downward header after an excellent cross from the right by full back Bacary Sagna who was put through by Schneiderlin.

Giroud wasted two good chances before Matuidi made it 2-0 with a thunderbolt of a volley from 25 metres after Serbia's Nemanja Matic half-cleared a corner.

A subdued Serbia somehow reduced the arrears shortly before the break when Lazar Markovic's speculative shot fortuitously cannoned off Mitrovic and beat keeper Hugo Lloris.

Griezmann hit the woodwork on the hour and Valbuena forced a good save from Serbia's 19-year-old keeper Predrag Rajkovic as France continued to press forward.

The pace dropped in the closing stages as Les Bleus held on for victory, with full back Benoit Tremolinas missing a final opportunity in stoppage time when Rajkovic pulled off a good reflex stop.

Read more on:    euro 2016  |  soccer
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