Kolo Muani scores and assists as France fails to impress in 3-2 win over Chile

Tue, Mar 26, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Kolo Muani scores and assists as France fails to impress in 3-2 win over Chile

MARSEILLE, France (AP) - Looking to bounce back after a loss to Germany, France labored to a 3-2 win over Chile in a friendly game that produced only a few highlights on Tuesday.

France, one of the favorites at the European Championship this summer, looked deprived of a clear attacking plan, was often shaky in defense, and lacked precision and pace in the final third.

The individual brilliance of Randal Kolo Muani, who scored a goal and delivered a superb assist for Olivier Giroud, was enough to make the difference after Youssouf Fofana leveled for the hosts. Marcelino Nunez had put Chile in front and Dario Osorio pulled one back for the visitors eight minutes from time.

"We needed a reaction after the Germany match," Kolo Muani said. "We needed to inject a little more life into the game, which was lacking in those two matches. Even if we didn't do everything we needed to, we managed to win that game."

France coach Didier Deschamps had made nine changes to the team that was overwhelmed by the Germans and beaten 2-0 over the weekend, with Aurelien Tchouameni and Kylian Mbappe the only players to keep their starting spots.

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But the reshuffling did not bring an immediate improvement.

France had conceded after seven seconds against Germany. This time it took a bit longer for Chile to take the lead: six minutes.

Mauricio Isla broke down the right flank and into the box then found Nunez with a back pass. The Norwich midfielder fired a right-footed shot past France goalkeeper Mike Maignan.

France was handed another blow soon after when Marseille right-back Jonathan Clauss, playing in front his home crowd, was forced off with an unspecified injury.

Chile, which will feature at the Copa America this summer, played aggressively and circulated the ball well to boss the midfield early on.

Mbappe endured a bad night and it was against the run of the play that France leveled the scoring with a shot from Fofana that took a deflection and bounced in front of the Chile goalkeeper before crossing the line in the 19th minute.

France developed a more fluid game afterward and created more chances.

It took the lead when Theo Hernandez delivered a perfect cross for Kolo Muani, who jumped higher than two defenders to head the ball home in the 26th.

The hosts lost another player through injury before the interval, with Eduardo Camavinga making way for Matteo Guendouzi.

Back in the southern city of Marseille, where he played one season and scored 18 goals for the club, Chile striker Alexis Sanchez was a threat up front, combining well with forward Eduardo Vargas, who hit the woodwork with a powerful header after the interval.

Kolo Muani was decisive again in the 72nd minute when he dribbled past Igor Lichnovsky on the right of the box, moved into the penalty area and managed to cross the ball backward for Giroud, who scored with his left foot.

Osario then made the most of a loose ball close to the area to unleash a crossed shot from the edge of the box and beat Maignan.


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