A 92nd-minute goal by captain Kurt Zouma broke the resistance of Belarus and maintained France's 100% record in 2013–15 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying.
Les Bleuets' hopes of registering their sixth victory in as many Group 10 games were evaporating as the fixture against the section's bottom team entered added time. Willy Sagnol's side had dominated possession and fashioned 13 attempts on goal to their opponents' one before Zouma struck in the second of five extra minutes.
Layvin Kurzama and substitute Anthony Martial combined on the right wing and, after an exchange of passes, the former delivered a cross which Zouma powerfully dispatched past Vladislav Vasilyuchek at his near post.
France are six points clear of second-placed Iceland, who play Kazakhstan on Wednesday. They finish their campaign in September with matches against those two nations, having beaten Iceland 4-3 away from home in October.
Sagnol said: "I'm not surprised by Belarus's good performance, as we had a hard time in the first game. We also knew that we were in for a difficult task because we were missing a lot of players – almost a full team of absentees. We were also a bit below par in terms of our physical impact in the first half. We managed to improve that in the second half and the match was transformed."