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Ntep De Madiba earns France win in Belarus

Belarus 1-2 France
Paul-Georges Ntep De Madiba struck twice in ten second-half minutes to help Willy Sagnol's men to come from behind in Borisov.

France's Paul-Georges Ntep De Madiba tries to beat Belarus goalkeeper Vladislav Vasilyuchek
France's Paul-Georges Ntep De Madiba tries to beat Belarus goalkeeper Vladislav Vasilyuchek ©Pressball

France inflicted a fourth successive qualifying loss on Belarus but Willy Sagnol's side were made to work hard as they came from behind to maintain their perfect start in Group 10.

Anton Saroka's early goal gave the hosts a dream start in Borisov and for the first hour Aleksei Vergeenko's men looked well on course for at least a first point at the fourth attempt. Paul-Georges Ntep De Madiba had other ideas, and after converting a 65th-minute penalty a sumptuous long-range effort ten minutes later sealed the UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying spoils.

The goal brought a grin to Sagnol's face but there was little to smile about in the first half on the visiting bench. The game had barely begun before they were behind, Saroka meeting Maksim Volodko's free-kick just before goalkeeper Alphonse Aréola to divert the ball in.

Belarus looked comfortable, the odd scare aside, and Saroka's dead-ball prowess so nearly brought a second goal just before the hour, fizzing just wide. It was a turning point: within seven minutes it was all-square as Yassine Benzia was hauled down by Roman Begunov; Ntep De Madiba made no mistake from the spot.

Suddenly it was all France, camping deep in the Belarus half, and they soon got the winner. In some style too, as AJ Auxerre's Ntep De Madiba let fly with a stunning long-range effort. "It was hard," admitted Sagnol. "In the first half we didn't create many chances, but after the break we produced more quality football and won deservedly in the end."