Albania stun Les Bleus

Date published: Saturday 13th June 2015 8:55

A first-half free-kick by Ergys Kace gave Albania victory over the side they previously held to a 1-1 draw in Rennes back in November, as France lost for the second time in a week after going down 4-3 at home to Belgium last Sunday.

Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps rotated his squad for the game played in sweltering late afternoon conditions, with the ill Paul Pogba among those missing from the away line-up.

Seven changes were made to the team well beaten by Belgium at the Stade de France as the likes of Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho, Monaco midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia and Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette – scorer of 27 goals in Ligue 1 in the season just finished – were handed starts.

But they lacked any appetite against one-time minnows Albania, now coached by the Italian Gianni De Biasi and who are unbeaten in Euro 2016 qualifying so far, with the exception of their match in Serbia which was awarded as a 3-0 home win following trouble in Belgrade.

Albania showed they were more than a match for a French side who, perhaps understandably, appeared desperate for their summer holidays to begin.

Hugo Lloris made a crucial save from Ermir Lenjani before the goal that decided the game arrived in the 43rd minute.

Kace, the tiny 21-year-old with Greek club PAOK, curled a superb free-kick from 20 yards high into the top left-hand corner of the net to give Lloris no chance as the French suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time since June 2013.

“This evening there was an opponent with more determination who were well organised and we were unable to find the solution,” said Deschamps.

“I am especially angry and disappointed because I am responsible. I choose the players, the system, decide who comes on and who goes off.

“I will take the time to analyse it but it has not been a favourable period for us,” added Deschamps, whose team are next in action away to Portugal in Lisbon on September 4.

“Our victory is deserved. France have great quality but they lacked the determination to play. It was an end of season game,” said De Biasi, whose side are third in Euro 2016 qualifying Group I before their next match in Denmark in September.

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