Griezmann helps France fight back to oust Ireland
Two goals in four minutes from Antoine Griezmann gave the hosts victory in Lyon after the shock of Robbie Brady's second-minute penalty.
Two goals in four minutes from Antoine Griezmann kept alive France's UEFA EURO 2016 hopes and finally ended the resistance of a dogged Republic of Ireland in Lyon.
France had not fallen behind in any of their first three games – yet within two minutes that had changed. Shane Long went down after tangling with Paul Pogba and Robbie Brady sent Hugo Lloris the wrong way from the spot. It was the earliest penalty goal in EURO history.
The noise from the home fans paused briefly but then reignited as there was a positive response on and off the pitch. However, while Darren Randolph was kept busy he was rarely extended – unlike Lloris, who sprang full length to his left to keep out Daryl Murphy's effort.
As the first half wore on, France increasingly struggled to break down the massed Irish rearguard – epitomised in the final seconds when first Dimtri Payet and then Griezmann had shots blocked.
France, however, emerged after half-time with renewed purpose and turned the match on its head either side of the hour. The hosts finally levelled in the 58th minute as Bacary Sagna, who had regularly been allowed space down the right, picked out Griezmann with his cross; the header was unerring.
Three minutes later, Olivier Giroud's header found the Atlético Madrid forward on the edge of the area and a low shot gave Randolph no chance. Griezmann looked set to complete a quick hat-trick having been set clear by Giroud again in the 65th minute but Shane Duffy's desperate trip denied him, at the cost of a red card for the centre-back.
Les Bleus sought to wrap it up, substitute André-Pierre Gignac first being kept out by Randolph then rattling the crossbar. The No10 went close twice more in the final stages and Griezmann fired straight at the goalkeeper, but France had already done enough.
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Report courtesy to UEFA Euro Release
Published: Sun Jun 26, 2016 09:03 PM IST