Nasri shines as group leaders France see off Albania

Reuters, Friday 7 Oct 2011

Samir Nasri was back to his best as France consolidated top spot in Euro 2012 Group D qualifying with a 3-0 home win over Albania on Friday


France, who are guaranteed at least a playoff spot, have 20 points from nine games. They are one point ahead of Bosnia, the team they face in a group decider at the Stade de France on Tuesday.

Nasri, who has struggled in international football of late, finally delivered for Les Bleus as he set the pace in midfield and created the second goal for Loic Remy after Florent Malouda had put them in front in the 11th minute.

Anthony Reveillere added a third in the 67th minute following a fine defence-splitting pass from fellow substitute Marvin Martin.

France made a lively start and quickly put their stamp on the match on a chilly Parisian night.

In the seventh minute, after a neat one-two with Nasri, Bafetimbi Gomis was denied by keeper Samir Ujkani as France built up the pressure.

Yohan Cabaye’s right-foot effort from 30 metres then shaved the post but Les Bleus were rewarded for their efforts when Malouda’s volley from a Remy cross took a slight deflection off Armend Dallku and went into the net.

Nasri, who has been criticised by coach Laurent Blanc for his recent performances with the national team, slalomed through five players before setting up the speedy Remy who scored with a perfect angled shot.

Manchester City’s new signing Nasri also set up Gomis on the hour only for the Olympique Lyon striker to fluff his volley.

Reveillere, who came on for Patrice Evra, notched the third goal from close range after collecting a through ball from Martin, Cabaye’s second-half replacement.

Annoyed by Gomis’s miss, the fickle Stade de France crowd chanted Djibril Cisse’s name and they got what they asked for in the 80th minute when the Lazio player replaced the striker.

Cisse, who had not featured for France since last year’s World Cup, was quickly in action but could not add the fourth goal France deserved in a one-sided game.

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