Late goals from substitutes Loïc Rémy and Yoann Gourcuff secured a deserved victory for France against Romania and propelled the two-time European champions to the top of UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group D.
It looked as though Razvan Lucescu's well-organised side had done enough to earn a point when Rémy was sent clear by Alou Diarra in the 83rd minute. However, the Olympique de Marseille striker − who had only been on for 15 minutes − outstripped Cristian Chivu before firing a superb low shot beyond Costel Pantilimon. Gourcuff then emulated Rémy by collecting debutant Dimitri Payet's pass and rifling home in added time to confirm a second successive win for a resurgent France.
The capacity crowd was whipped into a frenzy by world rally champion Sébastien Loeb, who drove round the pitch before kick-off, yet the hosts struggled to click into gear once the action started. Indeed, it took Laurent Blanc's team 19 minutes to carve their first clear opportunity, Samir Nasri's clever chip finding Florent Malouda, who shot into the side netting.
The visitors, who had failed to beat Les Bleus in their eight previous attempts, operated with caution, defending in numbers and relying on the assured Chivu to keep Karim Benzema quiet. The Real Madrid CF striker was enduring a frustrating night, although he nearly opened the scoring four minutes before the break, grazing the outside of the post with a delightful curling shot.
George Florescu rifled in Romania's first effort in the opening minute of the second period, forcing a sharp save from Hugo Lloris, but France were soon on top again. Pantilimon reacted brilliantly to parry Mathieu Valbuena's 58th-minute shot against the crossbar, then looked on with relief as Chivu cleared acrobatically off the line.
Nasri raced clear of Gabriel Tamaş to force another fine double stop from Pantilimon, before Romania created their best chance, Cristian Săpunaru stroking a shot against the post in the 71st minute. If the home fans were fearing a repeat of the opening-day defeat by Belarus, Blanc's players had other ideas the substitutes wrapping up the win that takes France to the summit, a point clear of second-placed Albania, ahead of Tuesday's meeting with Luxembourg.