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France beat Kazakhstan for its first victory in the World Cup qualifiers

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Image source: AP

French footballers celebrate after Frenchman Usmane Dembele, second from the right, scores his team’s opening goal during the 2022 World Cup qualifier between Kazakhstan and France.

France amassed their first World Cup qualifier, beating Kazakhstan 2-0 on Sunday, and Killian Mbape’s second-half penalty proved insignificant for the current champions.

France coach Didier Deschamps made a number of changes from the 1-1 draw with Ukraine, which opened the campaign of Group B of the world champions and one of the players recalled, Ousmane Dembele, scored the first goal from the end of the zone in the 19th minute.

Kazakhstan inadvertently gave the French a second goal in the 44th minute when Sergei Mali took a corner from Antoine Griezmann in his own net as the defender collided with Paul Pogba in the area.

The corner had come only after an incredible clearing of Mali’s goal to deny Anthony Martial a simple header into the net from close range.

They were France’s only two attempts to aim in the first half, but the team created more openings after the break, as Kazakhstan goalkeeper Alexander Mokin brilliantly saved from Dembele and Mbape, who came in after Martial injured his left knee.

Mbape won a penalty in the 75th minute after being tripped by Nurali Alip, but his shot on the spot was removed by Mokin.

Martial, the Manchester United striker, appears to have been injured by grabbing his spikes on the synthetic grass at the Astana Arena in Nur-Sultan, the type of problem Deschamps was concerned about before the match.

There did not appear to be any other injuries, leaving Deshan with many opportunities to qualify for Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday, which is expected to be tougher for the French.

Ukraine plays Finland later Sunday.

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